Writing creative nonfiction means “watching the self watch the world”

Neha Kale reflects on her scholarship experience in Writing Creative Nonfiction and the insights she discovered.

The Faber Scholarship for Creative Nonfiction arrived at a watershed moment in my writing life. Although I’ve freelanced for a long time, the economics of making a living as a writer in Australia has meant that I have rarely had the space to expand my relationship with the craft.

The scholarship, thanks to the guidance of Rebecca Giggs, hasn’t just helped me further develop my current project and uncover its driving questions. I’ve reframed my connection with writing practice and, alongside a supportive and talented group of peers, thought more seriously about what I want my work to do in the world in the process.

There are many elements of this course that I found valuable that will resonate with writers at all stages. The chance to observe literary technique via close readings of great nonfiction writers, some familiar, others new to me. Rebecca’s practical guidance and astute and generous feedback during the one-on-one sessions. The accountability that weekly classes provide amid deadlines and other commitments. A source of growth, for me, stemmed from the chance to take risks and the freedom to experiment. In a culture that prizes visibility, I was reminded that, for nonfiction writers, the thinking that happens in private – in the pages of diaries and notebooks  – can be as powerful as what ends up on the page.

I also found the idea that creative nonfiction involves “watching the self watch the world” revelatory. I’ve come away committed to thinking more carefully about the connection between the writer, the narrator and the world they observe – the potential and responsibilities of the writerly “I” – in the project I’m working on and beyond.

Writing Creative Nonfiction
with Rebecca Giggs and Fiona Wright
20 February – 17 September 2024
SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE – applications close 1 December 2023