Start to Write: Nonfiction

w/ Harrison Christian

Do you have a true story to tell? Is it your story, or the story of someone else? Start to Write is the writing series at the Faber Writing Academy designed to kick-start your writing life.

Wednesdays, 6.30-8.30pm (AEDT), 8 November 22 November 2023


This is a past course.

Over three weeks, you’ll get the hands-on teaching you need to start writing from acclaimed nonfiction writer Harrison Christian.

  • Discover the tools you need to start writing.
  • Overcome common problems shared by emerging writers.
  • Understand the fundamentals of nonfiction.

Your course includes:

  • A complimentary copy of a recent A&U publication
  • On completion of the course, alumni discounts on future Faber Writing Academy courses and books for the Allen & Unwin website.

Writers you'll be working with:

Harrison Christian

Harrison Christian is a writer from Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of two acclaimed nonfiction books, Men Without Country (2021), a bestseller in New Zealand, and Should We Fall to Ruin (2022). His third book, Terra Nova, is forthcoming from Ultimo Press in 2024. His nonfiction focuses on the history of the Pacific….

Course outline

Session 1: Wednesday 8 November

Finding a mandate:  Nonfiction needs a ‘mandate’ or reason for being. In this introductory session, we brainstorm examples, eg. a personal connection to a story, or expertise in a particular subject. Then we look at real examples of how authors communicate their mandate to the reader. There will be time for questions. The homework is to start writing the first chapter of a nonfiction book with your ‘mandate’ in mind.

Session 2: Wednesday 15 November

Engaging the reader: What are some ways that we can catch and hold the reader’s attention? We look at the method of creating suspense/foreshadowing at the start of a book. We go into prose techniques such as rhythm, flow and clarity. Next, we look at some writing that is not engaging, and work together to improve it. There will be time for questions. You will be able to apply today’s lesson to your draft.

Session 3: Wednesday 22 November

Looking ahead: You’ve got your first chapter – how do you carry on? We cover how to set writing goals, chapter outlines and timelines, and research. You will be able to submit your chapter and receive feedback. We’ll look at where to from here.

How to Book

This is a past course.