Our Published Writers

Chalk the Sun has been providing tuition and inspiration for over a decade and we’re pleased to see some of our writers, past and present, getting published. Sometimes we’ve played a direct part in developing their work or editing their books; sometimes Chalk’s role has been less tangible: engendering confidence, nurturing creativity, improving skills. Either way we’re proud of our connection with these talented people.

Fliss Chester photo by Capture it

Chalk The Sun’s evening classes were not only fun, full off creative flair and an experience in their own right, but also they gave me the tools and confidence needed to continue writing my first novel – which was then picked up by a literary agent and was published by Orion as part of a three-book deal. I’m now working on my fifth full-length novel and still credit Ardella and Jo from Chalk The Sun with nurturing the creative writer in me.

Fliss Chester, author of the French Escapes series of romance novels (Orion) and new cosy crime series The Fen Churche Mysteries (Bookouture)

David Allan-Petale

I met Ardella Jones from Chalk The Sun outside a bookshop in Balham where she thrust a pamphlet in my hand, saying, “You look creative, come to a writing class.” I did, and I’ve now written my first novel, which drew upon all the skills and creativity I uncovered with the help of Chalk’s razor sharp tutors Ardella, Jo Hepplewhite, Johnny Wolfman and Simona Sideri. I attended weekly classes, the Italian retreat, and the odd workshop and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with people just like me, mad about books and writing and combining it all with a few sneaky beverages.The mixture of fun and forensic attention to detail, style and expression is welcoming for the first timer, a kick in the backside when you’re struggling and a slingshot as you’re finishing.

David Allan Petale, writer and journalist, Perth, Australia. David’s first novel Locust Summer is published by Freemantle Press 2021


‘Locust Summer is about a final harvest, but it’s so much more. Few novels have such quiet authority and insight into pasts and futures, nostalgia and grief.’ Toni Jordan

‘Authentic, true, and moving – this book made me want to hug my kids, my wife, my parents, and never let them go. This writer will break your heart and fix it again, all within a paragraph. A real talent.’ Benjamin Hobson

The novelists group really does take my work up to the next level, and easily compares to my MA course in terms of standard and commitment (and it doesn’t cost £4K!)

Elisa Webb, author of Darkling Park (Patrician Press 2016), Tooting, London

Dr. Jacqueline Cockburn, Gaucin Writers’ Room member at A Taste of Art book launch at Tower Bridge October 2019 with co-author Holly Grothe Howard

I joined a writing course to start with and then joined the group. I wanted to be able to write fiction rather than the fusty academic writing I had done up to then. Not an easy task but the endless patience of Jo, her encouragement and her forensic understanding of language as well as her humour and effervescent teaching has really helped me begin to develop a style of my own. The writing groups are stimulating and the teaching ever inventive.’

Dr. Jacqueline Cockburn, author of A Taste of Art: London (Unicorn)

Alex Wyndham Baker, author of Cursive

CTS covers all bases, boots and braces, patiently hauling, cajoling and guiding you into shape. Whether a newbie, tendrilling out an insatiable shoot, or a wizened old cynic seeking defibrillation for your creative soul, Jo and Ard will hold your hand, lead you forward and show you, with merciless empathy and encouragement, how to string it all together. And you’ll laugh your ass off in the process.

Alex Wyndham Baker, writer, Gaucin, Spain