Participant Guidelines, FAQ, Complaints

Participant Guidelines

• All work submitted by participants is their intellectual property. It is to be treated with total discretion, and never shared publicly or privately without written permission from the author.

• Artistic freedom is vital and ideas are always up for debate. However, The Reader will not tolerate the expression of hate speech, harassment, racism, sexism, transphobia or other forms of discrimination, whether these take place in class, online or on any other public platform. Tutors hold the right to decide whether or not to workshop participant submissions that do not adhere to The Reader Berlin’s aforementioned values.

• The Reader aims to offer a warm welcome to all writers. Respect, empathy and a desire to help one another are the bedrock of what we do. With sensitivity and honesty, we can learn from one another. When critiquing one another’s work and in general, these values should be kept in mind.

• The Reader will offer feedback rounds after every course and has an established complaint procedure in order to uphold the values in its mission statement. We welcome constructive feedback and aim to reply to complaints within three working days.

• If your work explores violence, sexual assault or any other topic that may be traumatic to the reader, please preface it with a content warning. We support freedom of expression and authors who are writing about difficult subject matters, but remind participants that a workshop is not a therapeutic environment and our tutors are not trained counsellors.




Who takes your classes?

We’ve been offering creative writing courses since 2011. Over the years we’ve worked with hundreds of writers, helping them to meet their goals. Our participants come from all over the world. They range from complete beginners to published authors who are looking for support, structure and community. Everyone is welcome and can benefit from the encouraging, open environments fostered by our tutors.

Where do they take place?

We use a number of different venues, including bookshops, a book depot and the tutors’ writing rooms and homes. If the venue isn’t specified, feel free to get in touch and we’ll tell you where a course or seminar will be taking place. During the pandemic, we’ve taken all our courses online – and they’ll stay online until government guidance changes.

Who are your tutors?

Our tutors are all published authors, journalists, poets, essayists, translators and editors, many of them with multiple books and awards to their names. Check out our Tutors page for more information about the writers we’re working with and feel free to cast an eye over some of our Testimonials. Our tutors excel at giving gentle but honest feedback, and can give you advice on publishing your work when you’re ready to share it with the world.

What happens during a typical session?

Each course and seminar varies. Read the course descriptions carefully and then get in touch with us via email if you have any questions. Some courses focus more on getting you writing, employing creative writing exercises and prompts during the sessions. Others employ a workshop structure and set submission deadlines for each participant. Submissions are then read at home and workshopped within the group. We also encourage close reading as a way of becoming more conscious of the techniques authors use and look at elements of the craft, such as dialogue, point of view, characterisation, etc.

English isn’t my first language. Can I join a course?

Our participants come from all over the world. For between 30 to 50 per cent of the writers, English is a second or other language. If you write in a language that isn’t English, you can still take a course or seminar. However, if the course you are interested in features a heavy workshopping element and you are unwilling to submit work in English, then it may not be suitable for you. If you have any questions about this, just email us and we’ll do our best to answer them.

How do I pay my fees?

For most courses, you will be asked to transfer for fees to the individual tutors before the course starts. If you’d like an invoice, simply request one from your tutor. Invoices may or may not include MwSt. (VAT) depending on the tutor leading the workshop.

What do fees include?

We aim to keep our courses as accessible as possible to writers. Hey, we’re writers too, but in order to keep The Reader running we need to cover the costs. The course fee includes rental costs (classroom/ communication platform), instructor fees, administration and web fees. But they don’t always include VAT or Mrwst.

What’s your cancellation policy?

We try to keep the fees as low as possible and we do need a minimum number of participants in order to run a course. If you drop out of a course just before it begins or after it has started, that’s often too late for us to find someone on the waiting list willing to step in. We always try to find someone to take your place, but if we can’t your fees are non-refundable. If we cancel a course for any reason, your fees will be refunded in full.

What happens if I can only attend some of the sessions?

Over a 7 or 9 week course, it is inevitable that you could miss a session or two. Therefore, we can’t offer a discount on the basis you can only attend some of the sessions.



Publishing Advice, Mentoring and Manuscript Assessments


Advice about publishing, MAs, MFAs, agents, etc.?

Yes! We love it when our writers get published. Over the years participants have gone on to publish books, produce plays, have their work featured in newspapers, magazines and journals, not to mention winning literary prizes. Advice on submitting your work to journals, acquiring an agent, or a place on an MA or MFA course are part and parcel of what we offer. We have written numerous references for participants seeking to enter writing programmes or residencies and can share what we know about the processes involved.

I’m not sure whether to take a course or get some mentoring. What’s best for me?

Tricky. Some writers are allergic to workshops or have a schedule that means they can’t regularly attend a course. It may also be that you’ve specific writing goals you need help meeting, or that you’ve a draft novel or script on the go and you’d like to work with a mentor to get concentrated feedback and bring it to completion. In these cases mentoring is the right choice. However, if you’re just setting out, we recommend an ongoing workshop as the perfect way to establish a writing practice, get expert advice and encouragement, and meet other writers.

When is a manuscript assessment appropriate?

If you’re working on a novel, memoir, script, poetry or short story collection and you’ve got a complete manuscript, then the time may be right for a manuscript assessment. A thorough assessment of your script will address its strengths and weaknesses and offer a realistic assessment of its publishing potential. It will help you see the big picture when you’re lost in the details.You can read more about manuscript assessment here.

Complaints Procedure

If you have a complaint about an incident that has occurred in class or relates to another participant, please address it with your tutor, either via email or in a quiet moment before or after class. If you do not feel comfortable addressing the complaint with your tutor, you can email the director at

Your complaint will be dealt with in confidence and we aim to reply within 3 working days.



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