Writing a Novel Stage 2

with Sophie Cunningham and Emily Bitto + guests, including leading industry agents/publishers

23 July - 1 October 2020 (3 months)

Please note that pending the latest COVID-19 advice this course may be delivered online.

Allen & Unwin - Melbourne
406 Albert Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Get directions

Course fee: Emily Bitto
$3,250 / $2,760 alumni

Write your novel, and write it well.

This three-month course builds on the work started in Writing a Novel: Stage 1 and is suitable for writers who have completed that course, or who have a substantially completed rough or first draft of a novel-in-progress. This course will develop craft and technical skills required to turn a rough draft into a work of art. Using exercises focused on your own work, you'll finish the course with a deep understanding of the novelists' craft and how it applies to your own novel.

• Benefit from the structure of regular classes covering everything from playing with genre, the power of what is unspoken and using scenes and narrative summary to maintain momentum.

• Learn from our experienced Course Directors, as well as guest tutors including top authors, and agents/publishers.

• Receive personalised, one-to one attention on your project from your tutor.

Get it done. When undertaken with Writing a Novel: Stage 1, this is a flexible alternative to a creative writing MA, designed for people who might be considering a career and who are prepared to engage fully in the hard work involved. Apart from the workshops, you will be devoting as much time as possible between classes to writing.

Receive invaluable feedback by having the chance to present your work to your class of other committed novelists.

Start your career with unrivalled access to those who know. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen. Hear talks from people in the industry, then read to a room of agents at course completion.

Please note that while Writing a Novel: Stage 1 and Writing a Novel: Stage 2 are designed to build on each other, each may be taken as a stand-alone course. Talk to us if you need guidance on which one is best for you.

Please note that students completing Writing a Novel Stage 1 will have first preference for places in Writing a Novel Stage 2. Places for new students can only be offered if an existing student chooses to discontinue. We will advise new applicants of the availability of places as soon as possible.


Praise for Writing a Novel

'You must make sure the course survives. It is an essential part of the landscape." - Jonathon, 2017

'Every week I learnt new tools which I could use straight away. It helped me at a macro and micro level. The teaching style made me want to write more and gave me confidence in my own writing. The course exceeded my expectations.' - Rob McDonald, 2016 Rob McDonald's first novel will be published by Allen and Unwin in 2019.

'What the course has managed is to get me to stop worrying about writing a novel and to just start getting something - anything - down... Toni and Paddy have helped me to understand is that all this is fine and natural and a necessary stage to go through. They've given me the push I needed to get started and they've managed to make me believe that I will get this novel written.' - Michelle Wright, author of Fine (2016) Melbourne, 2015.Read Michelle's post about this course


About the Course Directors

Sophie Cunningham is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008), and three non-fiction works, Melbourne (UNSW Press, 2011), Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy (2014) and City of Trees (2019). Her third novel, This Devastating Fever, should be out in 2020. She is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University (Non-fiction Lab), in the School of Media and Communication at the College of Design and Social Context, and was a former editor of Meanjin, a former chair of the Australia Councilís Literature Board, and a co-founder of the Stella Prize.

Emily Bitto is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her debut novel, The Strays, was the winner of the Stella Prize in 2015. She has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne and has been teaching creative writing for over a decade.

About the guests - watch this space. Previous guests include Steven Amsterdam, Chris Womersley, Steven Caroll, Wayne Macauley, Clare Forster, Aviva Tuffield and Mandy Brett.

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


Course Dates


The course consists of:

11 x Thursday evenings (6.30pm to 8.30pm) + 3 x full Saturdays (10am to 4pm)

Session 1: Thursday 23 July

Session 2: Thursday 30 July

Session 3: Thursday 6 August

Session 4: Saturday 8 August

Session 5: Thursday 13 August

Session 6: Thursday 20 August

Session 7: Thursday 27 August

Session 8: Saturday 29 August

Session 9: Thursday 3 September

Session 10: Thursday 10 September

Session 11: Thursday 17 September

Session 12: Saturday 19 September

Session 13: Thursday 24 September

Session 14: Thursday 1 October


How to Apply

To apply your will need to submit in a single document:

  • A letter briefly stating any writing experience
  • An overview of the idea for your novel and its present stage of development
  • A 2,500-word sample of prose.

Enter your application for Writing a Novel Stage 2 here.

This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs and allows tutors to familiarise themselves with your work.

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