Writing a Novel: Stage 2

with Kathryn Heyman or James Bradley + guests, including leading industry agents/publishers

July - September

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

Write your novel, and write it well.

A comprehensive 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.

Praise for Writing a Novel

‘The exercises allowed people to experiment at their own pace and skill level. The structure provided myriad resources and lots of inspiration.’ - Kim, 2017

'I have done writing courses before but this far outstrips any of them: the fundamentals of voice, plot, turning points, technical structures, have been invaluable. Engaging, encouraging and incredibly knowledgeable.' – Lindsay, 2016

'I found every single session of Writing a Novel useful and productive. I have always worked alone and had reservations about a long program of close work with a group but it has been a wonderfully rewarding experience. I cannot think of a thing that could have been done better or that I would want done differently.' – Janine, 2015

‘The course exceeded my expectations. I’ve been sceptical of creative writing courses in the past but this course dutifully exorcised the cynic in me. I’ve learnt a lot of valuable skills that have helped me fix the issues I had in my first draft and put me on my way to getting a draft of a publishable standard.’ - Virat, 2014

'(Faber Writing Academy) gave me a much needed framework and deadlines to work seriously on my novel with the benefit of proper feedback from experienced novelists. Listening to the guest authors reveal their writing processes and offer practical advice to new writers was priceless. Almost as importantly, the weekly meetings and day workshops with other attendees, all grappling with their own books, dispersed a little of the loneliness of writing and became a kind of mutual therapy that I think we all missed very much when the course ended.' - Joanne Riccioni, Sydney 2011 (The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store was published in Australia and the UK in 2014)

About the Course Directors


Kathryn HeymanKathryn Heyman is the author of six novels, most recently Storm and Grace. She has won numerous awards including an Arts Council of England Writers Award, the Wingate and the Southern Arts Awards, and been nominated for the Orange Prize, the Scottish Writer of the Year Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Critics' Awards, the Kibble Prize, and the West Australian Premier's Book Awards. Her radio plays for BBC Radio include adaptations of her own work.

Kathryn has taught writing for many years, including serving Scottish Arts Council Writing Fellow for the University of Glasgow, and teaching fiction and poetry for the University of Oxford. From 2011 – 2013, she was the Senior Judge for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, and an advisor to the awards team in 2016. As well as being the Program Director for Faber Writing Academy in Australia, Kathryn Heyman is the director of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program and is a Conjoint Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle.

James Bradley

James Bradley is an award-winning writer and literary critic. His books include the four novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist and Clade, and a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus. He is editor of The Penguin Book of the Ocean, and has written a trilogy of young adult novels, the first of which, The Silent Invasion, was published in 2017. His literary criticism and journalism has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Australian Literary Review, Australian Book Review, The Monthly, Locus, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Heat, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. In 2012, he was awarded the Pascall Prize for Criticism.

About the guests – watch this space. Previous guests have included Andrew O’Hagan (UK), David Malouf, Margo Lanagan, Charlotte Wood, Ross Grayson-Bell, Louise Doughty (UK) plus agents and publishers.

Course Program

The course consists of:

11 x evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm-8.30pm) + 3 x full-day sessions (Saturdays 10am-4pm)

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 director and Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin.

Session 1:
Taking Stock: What do you know, what is unknown. The power of uncertainty. Listening to your characters.

Session 2:
Dialogue: Listening; recording; pace; precision.

Session 3:
Structure: Quest Narrative
Guest tutor.

Session 4:
Metaphor and Rhythm: Elements of style.
Playing with Genre: Ghosts, spaceships and private eyes.
One-to-one mentor sessions.

Session 5:
Character: Secrets and subtext. The power of what is unspoken.

Session 6:
Exposition and backstory.
Using scenes and narrative summary to maintain momentum.

Session 7:
Guest tutor.

Session 8:
Free choice session (students inform tutors in advance of topic they wish to cover)
One-to-one mentor sessions.

Session 9:
Pacing and Passage of Time.

Session 10:
(Re)writing the Beginning.

Session 11:

Session 12:
Editing Boot Camp.
Guest: presentation and pitching.

Session 13:
Guest agent.

Session 14:
Final session: moving on, maintaining momentum.

N.B. In November, students take part in the launch of the Writing a Novel Anthology which includes a reading to industry guests. Date to be confirmed.

How to Make a Booking

All course applicants for Writing a Novel: Stage 2 are required to forward a cover letter briefly stating any writing experience and an overview of the idea for the novel identifying what stage it is presently at. Applicants are also required to submit a 2,500 word sample of prose. This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs and allows the tutor to familiarise themselves with your work.

Please send applications to faberwritingacademy@allenandunwin.com or by post to:

Faber Writing Academy Manager
Allen & Unwin
PO Box 8500
St Leonards NSW 1590

Download the application form (PDF)

Successful applicants will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,100 (Faber Writing Academy Alumni are entitled to a 15% discount off the course fee and will pay a deposit of $610). The balance of the course fee, a further $2150, will be payable in two further instalments of $1075 on 1 August and 1 September respectively. No refunds will be given to students who miss sessions or drop out of the course.

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

Faber Anthology 2016