Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Sophie CunninghamWriting a Novel - Stage 1

with Sophie Cunningham and Emily Bitto

4 April - 27 June 2019 (3 months)

Allen & Unwin – Melbourne
406 Albert Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002
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Course Fee: Emily Bitto
$3,250 / $2,760 alumni

$2,760 for those who sign up for Writing a Novel: Stage 2 at the same time


Write your novel, and write it well..

For aspiring novelists ready to leap in, this course will guide you through the process of planning and beginning your novel, developing skills in writing from scratch and establishing a writing practice. Using a combination of targeted writing exercises, group discussion and carefully selected examples, the focus of this course will be on your own writing, with the aim of ending the course with a substantial body of new writing, heading towards a first draft of your novel.

• Benefit from the structure of regular classes covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words on a page, narrative structure and style.

• 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 2, 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. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen.


Praise for Writing a Novel:

'This has been such a fantastic course and it has helped my writing immensely.' Stephanie, 2018

'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 is due to 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...' - Michelle Wright, 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 two non-fiction works, Melbourne (UNSW Press, 2011) and Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy (2014). Warning was longlisted for the 2014 Walkley Book Award and the 2015 Kibble Literary Award. She is a former editor of Meanjin and former chair of the Australia Council’s Literature Board. Sophie was awarded the 2015 Calibre Prize for her essay, Staying with the Trouble.

She is currently working on her third novel, This Devastating Fever, about Leonard Woolf's years in Sri Lanka, and a book of nonfiction called City of Trees (2019) will be published shortly. 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.

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 Program

The course consists of:

11 x evening sessions (Thursdays 6:30 to 8:30pm) + 3 x full-day sessions (Saturdays 10:00am to 4pm)


Writing a Novel: Stage 2 (15 Aug - 24 Oct) is designed to build on Writing a Novel: Stage 1 but each may be taken as a stand-alone course. Talk to us if you need guidance on which course is best for you. If you sign up for both courses at the same time you receive a discount. See ‘How to Make a Booking’ below.


How to Apply


N.B. You will not be charged at this stage of the application. If you are successful in securing a place on the course, we will email you a link to pay the deposit online.

When you apply you will be asked to separately forward a cover letter briefly stating any writing experience and an overview of the idea for the novel identifying its present stage of development. Applicants are also required to submit a 1,500-word sample of prose. This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs.Please include your name and ‘Sydney’ or ‘Melbourne’ in the title of all documents that you submit depending on where you would like to complete the course. Email material to:faberwritingacademy@allenandunwin.com.

Payment details


Successful applicants will be asked to pay a 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 May and 5 June respectively. In the week leading up to these dates you will be sent a link for payment options. Refunds are not not available to students who miss sessions or drop out of the course.

* A NOTE FOR NON-ALUMNI: If you wish to also sign up for Writing a Novel: Stage 2 (5 Aug - 24 Oct) at the same time, you will be eligible for the alumni discount on Stage 1 as well as Stage 2 (a double discount). Please tick the relevant box when you apply. If your application is successful, you will pay an additional $610 deposit for the Writing a Novel: Stage 2 course, i.e. a total of $1,220. If you later decide, after completing Writing a Novel: Stage 1, not to proceed to Writing a Novel: Stage 2, your deposit for Writing a Novel: Stage 2 is non-refundable.

For further information contact Faber Writing Academy:faberwritingacademy@allenandunwin.com or phone (02) 8425 0171.