Writing the Narrative Nonfiction Book with Deborah Robertson

Author Deborah Robertson on why she’s working with Faber Writing Academy on a new non-fiction course for writers in Melbourne.

Writers of narrative nonfiction are fighting the good fight, keeping alive aspects of our humanity that are slowly being eroded by social media and a culture of banality that impoverishes the inner lives of us all.

A work of narrative nonfiction might take the form of memoir or oral history; it could be an immersive study of other lives or the complex investigation of a big or small incident, Whatever the form, the finest works of narrative nonfiction will share the same qualities of depth, detail, independent thought, research, creativity, curiosity, empathy, knowledge, sometimes wisdom. More often than not, the motive force behind the work will be a desire for understanding; for complexity over reduction; for truthfulness, but one that understands truth’s partial nature.

Some works of narrative nonfiction are revelatory; some bring about deep redress. Narrative nonfiction can offer the joy and rejuvenation of seeing something in a new light. Or the intimacy, the privilege, of spending deep time in someone else’s life. And there’s always the visceral pleasure, the electric opening of the mind, that comes with learning something new.

Or we could just go on checking Like, Dislike.

The Faber Academy is unique in our throw-away world: a contemporary place of learning that has its roots deep in history. In its understanding of what it takes to learn the specialized craft of writing – the knowledge but the nurture too – and what is needed to help writing find its place in the world, you can see in the Faber Academy all the DNA of its parent, Faber and Faber, the publisher of some of the culture’s best-loved books, some of them changing society. You can see in its courses, its tutors, in its intelligent structure, that the Faber Academy is committed to continuing the Faber and Faber tradition of bringing the best books possible into the world. I can’t imagine anything more encouraging and supportive for an aspiring writer than to know they’re studying their craft in an environment that thinks of them, their ideas and their ambitions, with that kind of sincerity and seriousness.

Writing the Narrative Nonfiction Book Stage 1
with Deborah Robertson
4 June – 14 September

Applications close two weeks prior to the course commencement.