Writing a Life

w/ Arnold Zable

Drawing on thirty years of experience both as an acclaimed writer across the genres and as a lecturer and teacher, Arnold Zable’s new 6-week program will explore the most imaginative and engaging ways to structure and write a life’s story. It will include writing exercises, feedback, mini-talks, and question and answer sessions.

12 May – 9 June plus a Reunion Class (6 weeks)

Wednesday evenings, 6.30 – 8.30pm

$620 / $ 527 alumni

There are many ways of writing a life. Stories drawn from life, tales of journeys and family history can range from memoir to autobiography; from short story to novel; from personal journal to biography. Or they can be written just for family.

The crucial questions are: what is the best way to write a life story, how to bring your recollections and research into family history to life, and how to write in a way that will hold the reader.

This is a rare opportunity to study with the acclaimed author Arnold Zable over 6 weeks in a supportive online environment.

Your course includes:

• 6 weeks of 2 hour evening tutorials
• A complimentary copy of a recent A&U publication
• On completion of the course, alumni discounts on future Faber Writing Academy courses and books from the Allen & Unwin Website

Writers you'll be working with:

Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed writer, novelist, storyteller and human rights advocate. His books include Jewels and Ashes, The Fig Tree, Cafe Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, Violin Lessons, and The Fighter. His most recent book, The Watermill was published in March 2020. His work ranges across many genres and includes novels, short stories, essays, columns, opinion…

Course outline

Session 1: Wednesday 12 May. Introductory Session.
• Introduction, including participant introductions
• The many ways of writing a life: From non-fiction to fiction, memoir to novel
• Introduction to the art of scene construction
• Beginnings: Capturing moments in time

Session 2: Wednesday 19 May. Models of writing character
• The art of scene construction expanded
• Being fully present
• Points of view and tenses
• Writing exercise
• Q and A

Session 3: Wednesday 26 May: Writing place, settings
• The art of scene construction continued
• Structure: Interaction between spontaneity and planning
• Exercise: Writing character and place
• Q and A

Session 4: Wednesday 2 June. Objects and the stories they tell
• Review of exercises, Q and A
• Stories and scenes generated by objects
• The interaction between research and writing

Session 5: Wednesday 9 Jun. Where to from here: Taking your stories forward.
• How to take a story forward
• Overcoming blocks
• Review of exercises
• Q and A: Participants’ projects.

Session 6: Reunion class

  • Revisit your work after time away from the class
  • Date and time to be decided by the class in consultation with Arnold Zable

Praise for this course

‘I learned so much in just a few weeks and the interaction with others was very helpful.
Arnold is an excellent teacher.’ Participant, 2020

‘Arnold Zable was generous with his time and feedback. He is excellent in giving
encouragement and guidance. Look forward to participate in other sessions with Arnold.’ Participant, 2020

How to Book


When you make your booking you will be given the option of paying the full course fee or securing your place by paying a deposit of $ 220/$ 187 alumni. If you chose to pay the deposit two further payments of $ 200/$ 170 alumni will be required. The first will be due on 19 May 2021 and the second on 2 June 2021. We will send payment instructions for these closer to the time.