Arnold ZableWriting a Life with Arnold Zable

2-30 September 2020 (5 weeks)

Wednesday evenings, 6.30 - 8.30pm


Course fee: $620 / $ 527 alumni

There are many ways of writing a life. Stories drawn from life, tales of journeys and family history can range from memoir to autobiography; from short story to novel; from personal journal to biography. Or they can be written just for family.

The crucial questions are: what is the best way to write a life story, how to bring your recollections and research into family history to life, and how to write in a way that will hold the reader. Drawing on thirty years of experience both as an acclaimed writer across the genres and as a lecturer and teacher, Arnold Zable'snew 5-week program will explore the most imaginative and engaging ways to structure and write a life's story. It will include writing exercises, feedback, mini-talks, and question and answer sessions.

This is a rare opportunity to study with the acclaimed author Arnold Zable over 5 weeks in a supportive online environment.

Your course includes:

• 5 weeks of 2 hour evening tutorials
• A complimentary copy of a recent A&U publication
• On completion of the course, alumni discounts on future Faber Writing Academy courses and books from the Allen & Unwin Website

Course program:

Session 1: Wednesday 2 September. Introductory Session.
• Introduction, including participant introductions
• The many ways of writing a life: From non-fiction to fiction, memoir to novel
• Introduction to the art of scene construction
• Beginnings: Capturing moments in time

Session 2: Wednesday 9 September. Models of writing character
• The art of scene construction expanded
• Being fully present
• Points of view and tenses
• Writing exercise
• Q and A

Session 3: Wednesday 16 September: Writing place, settings
• The art of scene construction continued
• Structure: Interaction between spontaneity and planning
• Exercise: Writing character and place
• Q and A

Session 4: Wednesday 23 September. Objects and the stories they tell
• Review of exercises, Q and A
• Stories and scenes generated by objects
• The interaction between research and writing

Session 5: Wednesday 30 September. Where to from here: Taking your stories forward.
• How to take a story forward
• Overcoming blocks
• Review of exercises
• Q and A: Participants’ projects.

About the course director:

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed writer, novelist, storyteller and human rights advocate. His books include Jewels and Ashes, The Fig Tree, Cafe Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, Violin Lessons, and The Fighter. His most recent book, The Watermill was published in March 2020.

His work ranges across many genres and includes novels, short stories, essays, columns, opinion pieces, newspaper features, online blogs, songs and works for theatre, including co-authorship of Kan Yama Kan, a play in which asylum seekers tell their stories. He has written on a range of social justice issues, and conducted workshops with refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, bushfire survivors, the deaf, and the homeless, among many other groups, fostering writing and story as a means of self-empowerment.

Zable has lectured on writing and human rights issues throughout Australia and internationally and holds a doctorate from the School of Creative Arts, University of Melbourne. He is the immediate past president of PEN International Melbourne, an ambassador of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and a patron of Sanctuary. His awards include the Voltaire prize for the advancement of freedom of expression and the 2017 Australia Council Fellowship for Literature.

Praise for Arnold Zable:

'Arnold Zable's integrity and authenticity is wonderful to work with. His honed ability to ask THE right question is extremely productive. I learnt a lot and feel there's been a change in my focus for my writing.' 2019

'Knows his craft and knows how to bring out the writer in everybody.' 2018

Visit Arnold's blog on the five key considerations for people writing a life story.

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


N.B. you will be charged a booking fee of 50 cents ($0.50). If you have done a course with us before you qualify for our alumni discount so add your promotional code at the checkout to receive 15% off the full price or ring us if you do not know the code on 02 8425 0171.

For further information contact Faber Writing Academy: or (02) 8425 0171