Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Toni JordanWriting a Novel - Stage 1

with Toni Jordan and Paddy O'Reilly

plus guests including leading industry agents/publishers

3 March - 19 May 2020 (Three months)

Allen & Unwin – Melbourne
406 Albert Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002
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Paddy O'ReillyCourse fee: $ 3,250/ $ 2762.50 alumni
$ 2,762.50 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, 2016

'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, 2015

'Excellent. 10 out of 10… It was a privilege and a pleasure.' Stephen, 2014

'Getting constant feedback from industry experts was extremely helpful . . . I learned a lot that I can apply to my own work both now and in the future . . . More than returned the money I paid for this course.' James, 2013

'It helped me focus on my writing more effectively and to consider the technical aspects of what I was doing.' Steph, 2012

About the Course Directors:

Toni Jordan is the author of four novels. The international best-seller Addition was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl was published internationally and has been optioned for film, and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, was shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts was shortlisted for the Voss Literary Award and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Toni has been widely published in newspapers and magazines. Her most recent novel is The Fragments, published in November 2018.

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.

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 evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30 to 8.30pm) + 3 x full-day sessions (Saturdays 10.00am to 4.00pm)

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: Tuesday 3 March

Session 2: Tuesday 10 March
Types of prose, showing and telling

Session 3: Tuesday 17 March

Session 4: Saturday 21 March
Characters major and minor

Session 5: Tuesday 24 March
Point of View

Session 6: Tuesday 31 March
Guest Speaker

Session 7: Saturday 4 April
Exercises and workshopping

Session 8: Tuesday 7 April


Session 9: Tuesday 21 April

Session 10: Tuesday 28 April
Rhythm and pace

Session 11: Saturday 2 May
Guest speaker and more on character

Session 12: Tuesday 5 May
Narrative drive

Session 13: Tuesday 12 May
Guest Speaker

Session 14: Tuesday 19 May
Place & Setting

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 1 - Melbourne here.

SECOND ROUND APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN: this round closes on Sunday, 29 December 2019, with second round offers to be made Monday, 20 January 2020

FIRST ROUND APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED: first round offers to be made Monday, 16 December 2019

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