Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Kathryn HeymanWriting a Novel (Intensive)

with Kathryn Heyman and James Bradley

and guests TBC

11 – 14 October 2013, 6 – 9 December 2013 and 14 – 17 February 2014

Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
(Please note access is via stairs)

Course fee: $5,950 (inc GST)

The aim of Writing A Novel is simple - to give you the tools and support you need to write the first draft of your novel.

This is an exciting opportunity to be immersed in the world of novel writing, developing the craft and technical skills required to create a full length work of fiction. Running over three intensive long weekends, with skype meetings in between, students will have the opportunity to be part of the publishing and literary community, with minimum disruption to their regular timetable. Although this course is particularly designed for aspiring novelists living outside of the metropolitan centre, it will also suit those who are unable to find a regular weeknight to attend courses.

Sessions involve a combination of writing exercises, readings and discussions that are designed to develop novel writing skills from the first conception of an idea through to the final edit. Looking at narrative structure, voice, the development of character, the skill of rewriting and the fear of the blank page, the course will be both inspirational and highly practical.

This is a course which is focused on the acquisition of craft skills and discovering your writerly voice, through creative practice and written tasks. Like acting or music courses, it's experiential, with the focus on your own writing. Although there will be many written tasks and written exercises, with excerpts and examples, the course notes will primarily consist of your own work.

Students should be prepared to engage fully in the creative process by devoting as much time as possible between course weekends to developing their work - with the aim of creating the first draft of a full-length work of fiction by course end.

There is no better way to get going on the road to publication than to meet the people who make that happen every day and the course will also provide access to those in the know.

Praise for Writing a Novel:

'I can't speak highly enough of Kathryn Heyman. Exceptional is a word. Gifted writer. Great teacher. Good hearted. Lovely person. Utterly professional. Very astute observations with her feedback. She made every class fun, put as at ease, while also performing open heart surgeries without anaesthetic or (much) bleeding! It's quite a unique skill set. She is seriously good. So inspiring to see someone doing what they love. It was a gift to be on her course' —Dave Verey (Writing a Novel, Sydney 2013)

About the Course Directors


Kathryn Heyman is the author of five novels, including The Accomplice and Captain Starlight's Apprentice, published internationally and in translation. She has won an Arts Council of England Writers Award, the Wingate and the Southern Arts Awards, and has been nominated for the Orange Prize, the Scottish Writer of the Year Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Critic's Awards, the Kibble Prize and the West Australian Premier's Book Awards. She's written several radio plays for BBC radio, including adaptations of her own work, and has taught Creative Writing for the University of Glasgow and the University of Oxford. Kathryn is the Senior Judge for the 2013 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Her most recent novel is Floodline, published by Allen & Unwin.

James BradleyJames Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include three novels, Wrack, The Deep Field and The Resurrectionist, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and as editor, The Penguin Book of the Ocean. In addition to being widely translated, James' novels have won or been shortlisted for a number of awards, including The Age Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the Miles Franklin Award. As well as writing fiction and poetry, James' reviews and essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Times Literary Supplement, The Australian Literary Review, The Guardian, The Monthly, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Heat and The Sydney Morning Herald. He blogs at

About the Guest Lecturers

A range of guest lecturers including well-known writers, publishers and literary agents will conduct workshop sessions to share invaluable information from their relevant experience. Previous guests have included Margo Lanagan, Charlotte Wood, Markus Zusak, Ross Grayson Bell, Duncan Young, Stephanie Dowrick, Meredith Curnow, Annette Barlow and Fiona Inglis.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses - including tutors and venues - may be subject to cancellation or change.

Course Program

The course consists of three intensive weekends:

Friday 11 - Monday 14 October 2013

Friday 6 - Monday 9 December 2013

Friday 14 - Monday 17 February 2014

PHASE ONE: Generating

Friday 11 October
1pm - 5pm
Introductory Session: goals, obstacles, desires
Inspiration: the starting point
Inspiration: using memory
6pm - 9pm
Evening event on the Allen & Unwin Terrace
Guest (Writer)
Reading and discussion followed by wine and canapes

Saturday 12 October
10am - 5.30pm
Craft 1: concrete and abstract
Creating Character
Optional Dinner (as Faber Writing Academy's guests)

Sunday 13 October
10am - 5.30pm
Research and Exposition

Monday 14 October
9am - 2pm Using the Senses
Works in Progress: individual meetings with Course Directors

From 15 October - 5 December, students will be sent writing starters and tasks relating to the drafting of their novels for intended daily practice.

PHASE TWO: Crafting

Friday 6 December
1pm - 5pm
6pm - 9pm
Evening event on the Allen & Unwin Terrace
Guest (Writer)
Reading and discussion followed by wine and canapes

Saturday 7 December
10am - 5.30pm
Revealing Character
Optional Dinner (as Faber Writing Academy's guests)

Sunday 8 December
10am - 5.30pm
Turning Points and Stakes; searing moments

Monday 9 December
9am - 2pm
Set Up and Pay Off: plotting an ending
Works in Progress: individual meetings with Course Directors

From 10 December - 13 February, students will have individual Skype sessions with Course Directors discussing their work in progress.

PHASE THREE: Completion

Friday 14 February
1pm - 5pm
Restructuring and Rewriting
Selling Your Work; the synopsis; polishing
Guest (Publisher)
Optional Dinner (as Faber Writing Academy's guests)

Saturday 15 February
10am - 5.30pm
Editing Boot Camp
Making an Impact; presentation skills

Sunday 16 February
10am - 4pm
Individual Meetings
4pm - 6pm
Celebration: readings (with wine and canapes)

Monday 17 February
9am - 11am
Debrief/What Next?
11am - 1pm
Meetings with agents and publishers, pitching

How to Apply


All course applicants for the Writing a Novel course are required to forward a cover letter briefly stating your writing experience and an overview of the idea for your novel identifying what stage it is presently at. Applicants are also required to submit a 1000 word sample of your prose. This ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs.

These should be forwarded with the application form to:

or by post to:
Faber Writing Academy Manager
Allen & Unwin
PO Box 8500
St Leonards NSW 1590

The closing deadline for all applications is Friday 27 September 2013.

Successful applicants will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of $2,000 by 4 October 2013. The balance of the course fee, a further $3,950, will be payable in four further installments of $987.50 on 1 November 2013, 1 December 2013, 1 January 2014 and 1 February 2014 respectively. No refunds will be given to students who miss sessions or drop out of the course.

Download the application form (PDF)

Student access to e-mail is essential for the smooth communication of course materials.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses - including tutors and venues - may be subject to cancellation or change.

The 2013 Writing a Novel Anthology

The Faber Writing Academy 'Writing a Novel Anthology 2013' is now available as a free ebook from Kindle. Search 'Writing a Novel Cunningham' or click here

Faber 2013 Writing a Novel Anthology