Faber Writing Academy’s ‘Writing a Novel’ course changes writing and writers

As the 2023 Writing a Novel Scholarship recipients come to the end of their course they reflect on what has changed in their writing and perhaps, their lives.

Anneliz Marie Erese – Writing a Novel (Melbourne)

The ‘Writing a Novel’ course at the Faber Writing Academy was the highlight of my year. One of the things that resonated with me during the course was how the best writings read effortlessly on the page but, if read closely, work so hard underneath their prose. They are imbued with symbolism, metaphors, sensory images. Apart from that, the classmates I met at Faber have also become my good friends. We talk about our writing processes, the frustrations of working on a big project, the small and big wins. The feedback from the students and tutors were also some of the most helpful feedback I’ve received on my work. I’ve come to trust this group with my work and that trust only grows with consistency, generosity and time. All of us rallied and supported each other to write what we loved and to keep going. Hearing from industry professionals was also an eye-opening experience. It gave me a glimpse into the business side of the publishing world, how my work might fit into it and what the available options are once my manuscript is finished.

PS from Ed: Anneliz is also one of the 21 writers to receive the Hot Desk Fellowship at The Wheeler Centre where she will be working on her manuscript. She is part of the last cohort this year, along with Fellow Ellen O’Brien, the Faber Writing Academy’s Editor-in-Residence.

Theresa Sylvester – Writing a Novel (Online)

Writing is a huge leap of faith. You write a story; you submit it and hope someone out there reads it and sees your potential. Faber Writing Academy read the first 1000 words of my novel-in-progress, it wasn’t perfect, but they got a sense of my writing voice and granted me a scholarship that allowed me to grow my book. At the beginning of the course, I thought I knew my characters to the core. Then Carrie started giving the class writing exercises that revealed a whole different side to my characters. As a result; the plot of my novel got stronger. Every workshop, whether mine or someone else’s, was a learning opportunity. My peers pointed out things I had executed well, overlooked or should consider. 

The sessions with the guest speakers gave me valuable insights into the publishing world. It was motivating to meet editors, agents, writers, and coaches who are passionate about their work. 

I’m so glad I applied for this scholarship. I feel more confident about my work, and I believe the first 5000 words of my novel are now concise. I intend to apply the skills I’ve learned throughout the program in all aspects of my writing life. 

Nina Wilton – Writing a Novel (Sydney)

The WAN course exceeded every expectation. It provided me with an opportunity to learn the mechanics of writing in a structured way, breaking down the various components of a novel and teaching me how to work on each one to improve the quality of my overall writing. The tutors came from different genres and writing careers, and brought along guest speakers from different parts of the writing and publishing world – the insights from everyone into the craft and business of writing were invaluable.  I have never felt more confident in my ability to pull together a project.

The course also provided me with a writing community for the first time, and the opportunity to dedicate time every week amidst a busy schedule to improve my writing craft and focus on my writing. It was such a wonderful experience and I am grateful that I was able to participate in it.

Delila Bevan Zavadsky – Writing a Novel (Brisbane)

This year, I had the opportunity to participate in Faber’s ‘Writing a Novel’ course in Brisbane. To anyone considering this course, I couldn’t recommend it enough. In the past, I have struggled to find a course that is specifically tailored to those writing a novel. I have found writing courses to be broad and not focussed in this niche. Therefore, I was so excited to come across a program entirely dedicated to those writing long form.

The ‘Writing a Novel’ course provides all the tools you need to feel confident in the novel writing process—from the initial conception of an idea, to fleshing it out, to leaving with valuable insights into the publishing industry. It was incredible to be taught by two authors, Emily O’Grady and Kristina Olsson, who I have utmost respect for and who are highly successful in the writing world. Their classes were insightful and thought provoking. Through a series of workshops, we had the opportunity to analyse writing, including our own, through a constructive lens. I really enjoyed the guest speakers and I went away from these sessions feeling empowered. Moreover, what I enjoyed most about this course are the connections I have made. I have come out of it with both writing comrades and good friends. We all have a high degree of reverence for each others work and will continue to meet and write with one another. Having the opportunity to create this sense of community has been priceless. The Faber course gave me the space to delve deep into creativity, as well as the structure to hold me accountable in finishing the draft of my manuscript, Thawed Waters. Very sad it is over!  

2024 Faber Writing a Novel Scholarships are now open for applications.