Allen & Unwin » Faber Writing Academy

Writing for Children - beginners

Anna Fienbergwith Anna Fienberg & guest Anna McFarlane


Allen & Unwin - Sydney
83 Alexander St
Crows Nest NSW 2065
(Please note access is via stairs)
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Writing for Children is the perfect beginner course for people who wish to write for children.

Children are discerning readers and the children's publishing industry is highly competitive. To write a children's book that will stand out on a publisher's desk, and then on bookstore shelves, you need to be aware of what is already out there, while creating something that reflects your personality.

This course will identify what makes a successful manuscript. You will discover how to craft a compelling story, memorable characters, authentic dialogue and an evocative setting. You will learn about your audience and the themes and language suited to different age groups. The course will also discuss what publishers are looking for and how to convince them that you are worth publishing.

Writing for Children is ideal for beginners. Participants are encouraged to bring along ideas for stories, novels-in-progress and/or favourite children's books and young adult novels. If you are new to writing for children and not sure where to start, this is the course for you.

The course includes 8-hours of intensive tuition over 4 weeks, refreshments in class and a complimentary copy of an A& publication.

Book soon to avoid disappointment.

About the Course Director

TashiAnna Fienberg
has published more than forty well-loved books for children, from picture books to novels for young adults. She began writing articles and stories for School Magazine where she worked as Editor, publishing manuscripts by Robin Klein and Pamela Allen. Since her first Children's Book Council of Australia award for The Magnificent Nose and Other Marvels, she has gone on to win many others, including the 1993 Victorian Premier's Prize for Ariel, Zed and the Secret of Life and the CBCA Honour Award for Horrendo's Curse and Borrowed Light (selected as an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults). Her ever-popular Tashi series has been translated into 23 languages and animated for television. Wicked's Way is her latest novel for children.

About the guest

Anna McFarlane is a publisher of books for children and teenagers at Allen & Unwin. Before that she worked on children's books at HarperCollins and at Pan Macmillan where she was children's publisher until 2008. During her career Anna has published many bestselling authors and illustrators such as Terry Denton, Ursula Dubosarsky, Phillip Gwynne, Andrew McGahan, Danny Katz, Frances Watts, Gregory Rogers, Andy Griffiths, Jaclyn Moriarty, Markus Zusak and Michael Leunig among others.

Course Program

The course is made up of four Thursday evenings (6.30pm to 8.30pm)

The content listed below is a guide only. The exact course content could be adjusted according to the experience and concerns of the group.

Discussion of writing practices, reading tastes and students' intentions.
Getting started: finding the ideas that inspire you most. Writing exercises to help you tap into the passionate self.

Selecting and developing ideas into character and theme. Who are your characters? What are their wishes, problems? Why can't they have what they want? Finding your appropriate audience age through your characters' conflicts.
Writing exercises for character building.

'Character is action,' said F. Scott Fitzgerald. How growing your character will grow your story. Emotional truth as a basis for 'true' fiction. Digging for the voice and exploring dialogue. How setting and detail contribute to character, story and mood.
Reading and writing exercises for finding the voice.

Examining structure in terms of character development. How to find pace and rhythm, create suspense, work towards satisfying, believable conclusions.
Guest speaker, Anna MacFarlane: the world of children's publishing

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

How to Apply

To secure your booking, please complete the application form and email it to

or send by post to
Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin, PO Box 8500, St Leonards NSW 1590

Optional - Applicants may submit one paragraph on what sort of book/s you are interested in writing (it doesn't matter if you change your mind between applying and beginning the course!). This will not be used to exclude participants but to tailor the course to the requirements of the class.

Download the application form (PDF)

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