Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Kathryn HeymanWriting a Novel

with Kathryn Heyman and guests including Margo Lanagan, Ross Grayson Bell, James Bradley and others

10 March - 8 September 2015

Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Get directions
(Please note access is via stairs)

Course fee: $6,500 (inc GST)

Write your novel, and write it well.

This comprehensive six-month course gives you the opportunity to learn to write with the best. It will provide you with the structure and support you need to write the first draft of your novel.

You will benefit from regular workshops that will take you from the first conception of an idea through to getting your words on a page with a focus on narrative structure and style, and the process of re-writing. Writing Your Novel 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.

Learn from the Best with our renowned Course Directors, as well as guest tutors including top authors, editors, agents and industry professionals.
Receive Personalised Tuition and Feedback through one-to-one sessions with an experienced tutor.
Get it Done by engaging fully in the writing process through regular workshops and devoting as much time as possible between classes to writing.
Present Your Work to other committed novelists for invaluable feedback during the program and to industry agents at course end.
Start Your Career with unrivalled access to editors, publishers, agents and people who know how to start the journey to publication.

Praise for Writing a Novel and Kathryn Heyman:

'Thanks to all at Faber Academy. I learnt so much doing that course.' Debra Jopson, Sydney, 2011
Debra's first novel, Oliver of the Levant is coming out with Random House in 2016

'I found Kathryn to be funny, wise, professional and highly skilled at teaching the craft. I think she is a gifted teacher.' Barbara Hatten

'A writing school on the rooftop of a big publishing house, wow. It's literally in the air. Just taking deep breaths, sucking in the fumes, is inspiring . . . I found it unreal that I was supported to be the writer that I am. At no stage did I feel put in a box, or constrained by the rules.' Dave Verey

'Kathryn is an inspirational and charismatic teacher. With her trademark energy and humour, she encouraged me to ask the hard questions.' Jane Rusbridge, author of The Devil's Music (Bloomsbury), Longlisted for Impac Award

'The structure of the Curious Incident owes a great deal to Kathryn Heyman, with whom I was teaching a course some years ago. She was talking to the students about structure… as she spoke, the heavens opened, angels sang …' Mark Haddon, author of international bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

'(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, author of The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store (published by Scribe in Australia and the UK in 2014)

Kathryn HeymanAbout the Course Director

Kathryn Heyman
is the author of five novels, most recently Floodline. 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.

As well as being the Program Director for Faber Academy in Australia, Kathryn Heyman is the director of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program and a member of the Folio Prize Academy. Since she began teaching writing, 26 of her students have been published.

Listen to an interview with our wonderful tutor Kathryn Heyman on how to write a book:

About the Guest Tutors

Margo Lanagan is an internationally acclaimed writer of novels (Tender Morsels and Sea Hearts - published as The Brides of Rollrock Island in the UK and the US) and short stories (collected in White Time, Black Juice, Red Spikes, Yellowcake and Cracklescape). She is a four-time World Fantasy Award winner, two of her books are Michael L. Printz Honor Books, and her work has also been nominated for Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and twice been placed on the James Tiptree Jr Award honor list, as well as being shortlisted for a Hugo and a Nebula, longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Dublin IMPAC International Literary Award, and translated into many languages.

Her novel Tender Morsels was decried as "sordid wretchedness" by the Daily Mail in the UK, while Neil Gaiman called it "one of my favourite books in ages - powerful and moving." After reading Sea Hearts, British author Mal Peet said: "Margo Lanagan's writing is dangerously beautiful; it knows how to dance, and it knows how to fight."

Ross Grayson Bell was the creative producer and adaptor of the international cult hit film Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt.

James Bradley is an award-winning writer and critic. His books include four novels, Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist and Clade, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and as editor, The Penguin Book of the Ocean.

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:

22 x evening sessions (Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30pm) + 6 x full-day sessions (Saturdays from 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: Tuesday 10 March
Introductory Session: goals, obstacles, desires

Session 2: Tuesday 17 March
Beginning: finding the essence of the novel; concrete and abstract

Session 3: Tuesday 24 March
Inspiration: memory and observation

Session 4: Saturday 28 March
Character: beginning to find character; character voice and physicality; discovery and invention

Session 5: Tuesday 31 March
Place: the beginnings of place; setting as inspiration and as character


Session 6: Tuesday 21 April
Writing Through the Body: senses; physicality; sense memory

Session 7: Tuesday 28 April

Session 8: Tuesday 5 May
Metaphor and Rhythm: elements of style

Session 9: Saturday 9 May
One-on-One Meetings and Guest Tutor

Session 10: Tuesday 12 May
Voice: discovering voice; technical aspects; playing with voice

Session 11: Tuesday 19 May
Point of view: changing point of view; managing consistent point of view

Session 12: Tuesday 26 May
Guest Tutor

Session 13: Saturday 30 May
Secondary Characters
Scenes: what a scene is for; using scenes to create and release tension

Session 14: Tuesday 2 June
Dialogue: listening; recording; pace; precision

Session 15: Tuesday 9 June
Pacing and Passage of Time

Session 16: Tuesday 16 June
Guest Tutor

Session 17: Tuesday 23 June
Research and Exposition


Session 18: Saturday 18 July
One-on-Ones and Guest

Session 19: Tuesday 21 July
Creating Conflict

Session 20: Tuesday 28 July
Turning Points

Session 21: Tuesday 4 August
Guest Tutor

Session 22: Saturday 8 August
Revealing Character

Session 23: Tuesday 11 August
(Re)writing the Beginning

Session 24: Tuesday 18 August

Session 25: Tuesday 25 August
A&U Editorial Guest

Session 26: Saturday 29 August
Editing Boot Camp

Session 27: Tuesday 1 September
Selling your Work: the synopsis; polishing

Session 28: Tuesday 8 September
Concluding Session: what next?

The Writing a Novel Anthology will be launched In October and will include a reading to industry guests.

How to Make a Booking

All course applicants for Writing a Novel are required to forward a cover letter briefly stating any writing experience and including an overview of the idea for the novel and what stage it is presently at. Applicants are also required to submit a 1000 word sample of prose. This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs.

Please send applications to

or post to:
Faber Writing Academy Manager
Allen & Unwin
PO Box 8500
St Leonards NSW 1590

Download the application form

Successful applicants will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit of $2,200 by Friday 6 March 2015 (those paying by Friday 9 January 2015 will pay a discounted deposit of $1,900). Faber Writing Academy Alumni are entitled to a 15% discount ($975) off the course fee and will pay a deposit of $1,225 *. The balance of the course fee, a further $4,300, will be payable in four further instalments of $1075.00 on 1 April, 1 May, 1 June and 1 July 2015 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.

* Talk to us about becoming an Alumni. We now offer a Start to Write 1-day course for the bargain price
of $150. Not only do you receive a great day's intensive teaching, you get to try us out and receive discounts off future courses.

Writing a Novel SCHOLARSHIP

Faber Writing Academy offer one scholarship position on the course every year. Scholarship winners for 2015 were recently announced - read more

Writing a Novel Anthology 2014


The 2014 Writing a Novel Anthology

The Faber Writing Academy 'Writing a Novel Anthology 2014 is now available as a free ebook from Kindle.