Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Writing a Novel: Stage 2

with Paddy O'Reilly and Carrie Tiffany + guests, including leading industry agents/publishers

21 July - 29 September 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: Carrie Tiffany
$3,250 / $2,762.50 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

'Toni Jordan and Paddy O’Reilly give invaluable personal advice that only someone who has been through the process can provide. They are candid and generous. There’s no sugar coating, and that means you’re getting the advice you need to move forward in your writing and also insight into the ‘business’ of writing, so you can pitch your story to agents and publishers.' - Kirstie Bedford, 2019 Scholarship Winner Read Kirstie's blog post about her course experience here.

'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.

About the Course Directors

Paddy O'Reilly is the author of three novels including The Wonders and two collections of short stories, most recently Peripheral Vision, which have been published and broadcast internationally. She has won a number of fiction awards and her books have been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards and the ALS Gold Medal, as well as being nominated many times in best books of the year lists. She has been a recipient of Australia Council and Arts Victoria awards, as well as Australian and overseas writing residencies. Paddy has a PhD in English from Latrobe University and has won two prizes for excellence in teaching.

Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in Central Australia and now lives and works in Melbourne. Her first novel,Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and won the Dobbie Award for Best First Book and the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction. Her second novel, Mateship with Birds, was also shortlisted for many awards and won the inaugural Stella Prize in 2013 and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Her new novel, Exploded View, was published in early 2019. Carrie has an MA in Creative Writing. She is a former Creative Director of Faber Academy and has taught at RMIT, Writer’s Victoria, the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and the Banff Centre for Creative Arts in Canada.

About the guests - watch this space. Previous guests include Steven Amsterdam, Chris Womersley, Sophie Cunningham, 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 Program

The course consists of:

11 x Tuesday evenings (6.30pm to 8.30pm) + 3 Saturdays (9am to 12pm)

The content listed below is comprehensive but is still a guide only. The exact course content could be adjusted according to the experience and concerns of the group and availability of guest writers. The detail of the course is at the discretion of the course directors and Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin.

Session 1: Tuesday 21 July
Course outline and introduction

Session 2: Tuesday 28 July
Object and detail

Session 3: Saturday 1 August
Plot and structure

Session 4: Tuesday 4 August

Session 5: Tuesday 11 August
Genre and anti-genre

Session 6: Tuesday 18 August
Themes and symbolism

Session 7: Saturday 22 August
Redrafting boot camp

Session 8: Tuesday 25 August
Research and believability

Session 9: Tuesday 1 September

Session 10: Tuesday 8 September

Session 11: Saturday 12 September
Acting coach and A&U editor

Session 12: Tuesday 15 September
Guest speaker: Publisher

Session 13: Tuesday 22 September
Guest speaker: Agent

Session 14: Tuesday 29 September
Where to from here? Planning and enabling

After the conclusion of the program, students will have an option to take part in the launch of the Faber Writing Academy Anthology 2020 which includes industry guests.

How to Apply

To apply you 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 1,500-word sample of prose

This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs.

Enter your application for Writing a Novel Stage 2 - Melbourne here.

If you need further information please contact Faber Writing Academy by email at or call us on (02) 8425 0171.