‘Steve has such a wealth of experience both as an admired children’s author and also as an inspirational creative writing tutor. He has a rare talent which will help you find your own unique voice and write the story only you can tell. A writing workshop with Steve is something special, like a gift to your inner child.’
Jasbinder Bilan, author of Asha & the Spirit Bird’ (Winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award).
‘Steve is the master of plot and pace. He taught me so much about structuring my story, focussing on characters’ motivation and how to keep the stakes high. His advice and support were key to the early drafts of Frost Hollow Hall. What he taught me has been invaluable and definitely influenced the writer I am. He is also one of the nicest folks out there and an absolute joy to work with. Thanks Steve!
Emma Carroll, author of ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ and ‘Letters from the Lighthouse’.
‘I was incredibly lucky to have Steve as my tutor. Whether leading a workshop or guiding you through the process of writing a novel, Steve will always get the best out of any writer. As a brilliant writer himself and an experienced teacher he is full of creative ideas for how to approach your writing and always has insightful feedback. He is an expert at building a writer’s confidence, showing them their potential and guiding them through the hard work of making that a reality. The manuscript I wrote with Steve as my tutor, The Year of The Rat, got a publishing deal before I’d finished the MA course! Steve’s guidance, patience and support played a huge part in that and I’ll always be grateful I had such a great teacher.’
Clare Furniss, author of ‘The Year of the Rat’ (shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award)
‘Steve provided such support to me, as well as using his in-depth knowledge of form and genre to help guide me through early writing experiments. Critically, he helped me find my voice, and to shape and hone the plan and early chapters for what became my first properly published book. I have never looked back, and have so much to be grateful to Steve for. I don’t know how highly you can recommend someone as a mentor, but wherever that bar is; that’s where you’ll find Steve Voake.’
Chris Vick, author of ‘Girl.Boy.Sea.’ (Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal)
My book ‘Witch’ was born in a workshop with Steve, and it’s one of my most cherished memories on my journey to publication. I knew I had the beginnings of something, yet this was only a writing exercise, how could I take it further? It’s all thanks to Steve’s careful, incisive mentoring over the rest of my MA that my book started to grow, to find its feet. Steve’s a magician. He knows exactly how to coax the very best from a writer, he challenges you in the right way, and he inspires you with his enthusiasm, and his love of story. He’s also quite the most lovely person. There’s always laughter when you’re around him. If you’re looking for *that* person, someone who can help you take the next step as a writer, then look no further.
Finbar Hawkins, author of ‘Witch’ (Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award)
Steve is the kindest, wisest and most thoughtful tutor any writer could wish for. He taught me during my MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University and the story seed that grew to become The Wild Way Home was planted here during one of Steve’s workshops; his support and encouragement made me believe in myself and in the possibility that my stories might be ones worth telling.
Sophie Kirtley, author of ‘The Wild Way Home’ (Waterstones Book of the Month)
Steve has such an instinct for shaping stories to be the best they can be; he really listens to what a writer’s goals are gives real clarity in his input as to how these goals might be achieved. He’s never clinical, always caring and he genuinely wants all writers’ stories to shine.
‘Steve is a wonderful tutor, always encouraging, but always challenging you to make your writing the best it can be. His warm, supportive approach keeps the writing gremlins of self-doubt at bay and lets you dare to dream, and dare to write that story you’ve always been burning to tell.’
Gill Lewis, author of ‘Skyhawk’ (Winner of the UKLA Book of the Year)
‘The boost Steve gave to my writing – and my confidence – cannot be overstated. He’s a born storyteller, with a natural ability to share this skill to bring out the best in others. Steve offers industry experience from many different angles. If you want steady guidance, and an astute and encouraging appraisal of your writing, I cannot recommend him too highly.’
Lesley Parr, author of ‘The Valley of Lost Secrets’ (Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month)
‘I was extremely lucky to have Steve as one of my tutors on the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People course and I consider him a key person in turning my dream of becoming a published children’s author into a reality. He taught me how to be a constructive self-critic and shaped my approach to writing so that I was able to find success on the page and in the marketplace. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet and a great encourager. If you’re ever feeling down about your writing, ask him to read it aloud – he can make any old words sound incredible. You’ll come away thinking, ‘Did I really write that? I must be a genius!’
Laura James, author of ‘Captain Pug’ and ‘Fabio Flamingo Detective’ series
‘Steve was my manuscript tutor on Bath Spa’s MA in Writing for Young People, where I wrote my debut The Girl Who Stole an Elephant. My book would have been a much quieter story without him. He was invaluable throughout the process, giving me tips and ideas and always leaving me with inspiration for the next bit of writing I had ahead. He influenced the slant of the story into an action-packed adventure full of peril, which I believe is what got me agent interest.’
Nizrana Farook, author of ‘The Girl Who Stole An Elephant’ (Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award).
‘For a long time I dreamed of writing stories, but I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how. A large dose of imposter syndrome stopped me from even trying. Everything changed when I met Steve. He was the first person from the writing world to show enthusiasm for my scribbles. It bolstered my confidence and gave me the courage to keep going. His writing exercises lit my imagination, illuminating the stories I wanted to tell. His insightful questions and array of ‘writing tools’ gave me practical frameworks to write on from interesting story openers, to exciting middles and satisfying endings. Steve is a wonderful writing mentor; I highly recommend him. Happy Writing!’
Julie Pike, author of ‘The Last Spell Breather‘
I worked with Steve through the entire process of writing my first novel for young people, Running on the Roof of the World, from idea development, to structural edits, down to sentence level editing and proofreading. Steve is a complete delight and joy to work with. He was able to spot the seeds of the story from my sparse early drafts and encourage them to the surface. Once the story was developed, Steve’s constructive criticism and edits helped me make my prose sing in my own authorial style. His huge knowledge of children’s books meant he was able to suggest reading lists that allowed me to see where my novel would sit in the market. Steve’s feedback and guidance made me into the writer I am today and I’m hugely grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him.
Jess Butterworth, author of ‘Running on the Roof of the World’
‘Steve is an amazing teacher – from his generosity to giving actionable feedback with kindness and encouraging everyone to develop their own styles. His own writing is hilarious and full of heart and I was very lucky to spend an entire semester writing in his class at the Bath Spa MA, trying new things and learning the craft.’
Chitra Soundar, writer, author and storyteller