Writing A Novel (Daytime)

w/ Luke Horton, Emily Bitto and guests

For emerging novelists ready to dive in and make the commitment to complete a full manuscript, this rigorous three-stage course will guide you through the process of planning and beginning your novel, developing essential skills in writing and composition, as well as establishing a dedicated writing practice.

26 July 2024 – 9 May 2025
Fridays (10am – 1pm)

Faber Writing Academy at Kathleen Syme Library

Kathleen Syme Library
251 Faraday St,
Carlton VIC 3053


Get directions

$6,300 / $5,355 alumni.

Presented by Australia’s leading independent publishing house Allen & Unwin, in partnership with the prestigious UK Publishers Faber & Faber, Writing a Novel is a highly practical, craft-focused program designed to help you find the focus you need to stay the distance and finish your manuscript draft.

In the first three-month stage of this course (July– October), you will be given a proven combination of targeted writing exercises, group discussions and carefully selected readings. These introductory lessons will give you an important foundation for writing your novel. You will be taken through essential concepts such as narrative structure, character development, narration, voice, plotting, scene setting and more.

In the second half of the program (February – April) you will continue to develop the craft and technical skills required to turn a rough draft into a work of art. You will finish the course with a deep understanding of the novelist’s craft and how it applies to your own novel. These are lessons you can carry with you throughout your writing life.

After these two stages are complete, Writing a Novel students will be asked to submit work to our highly sought-after Faber Writing Anthology, a professionally edited and printed showcase of student work, sent to leading literary agents and publishers .

This third stage will take place after your course work is finished, giving you the time and space to work towards completing a submittable draft of your manuscript in time for the anthology to be sent out to agents and publishers. This final stage will include a meeting with Faber’s Editor-in-Residence, a copy-editing process, and a meeting with the Faber UK team.

During this course, you will be provided with:

  • Regular classes covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words on a page, narrative structure and style.
  • A personalised individual consultation on your project from your Course Director.
  • The ability to connect with fellow committed novelists, joining a selective class curated by your Course Director.
  • The opportunity to make valuable industry connections with key insiders from the Australian publishing industry.
  • The chance to be showcased in the much-anticipated Faber Writing Anthology, sent to publishers and literary agents.

Writers you'll be working with:

Luke Horton

Luke Horton is a writer, critic and creative writing lecturer from Naarm. His debut novel, The Fogging, was highly commended for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and published by Scribe in 2020. The former editor of The Lifted Brow Review of Books, Luke has a PhD from the University of Melbourne,…

Emily Bitto

Emily Bitto is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her debut novel, The Strays, was the winner of the Stella Prize in 2015. Her second novel, Wild Abandon, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2021. She has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne and has…

Course outline

This course consists of 20 x Friday sessions from 10am – 1 pm. Six of these sessions, featuring special guests, will run the full-day (10am – 4pm) and are marked below.

A 2-hour catch up session will be run online via Zoom to report in on writing progress in December 2024. Two additional evening sessions dedicated to the Faber Writing Anthology will be run in 2025.

2024 Dates

Session 1: July 26 2024
Introductions. Why this novel? Why now?

Session 2: 2 August 2024
Planning, Practice, Reading & Research.

Session 3: 9 August 2024
Beginnings. Writing exercises for exploration.

Session 4: 16 August 2024 (Full Day)
Writing place. Guest author.

Session 5: 23 August 2024
Voice (tone and POV) and tense.

Session 6: 30 August 2024
Structure and plot.

Session 7: 6 September 2024
Characters – major and minor.

Session 8: 13 September 2024 (Full Day)
Dialogue and what isn’t said. Guest author.


Session 9: 18 October 2024
Paragraphs & sentences.

Session 10: 25 October 2024 (Full Day)
Scene & summary. How to continue your practice over the break. Guest author.


Mid-break check in Zoom session: Friday 6 December 2024 10am – 12pm

2025 Dates

Session 11: 7 February 2025
Check in. Where to from here? Writing exercises for expansion.

Session 12: 14 February 2025
Deepening character (secrets, perspective, icebergs).

Session 13: 21 February 2025
Using time as a narrative device.

Session 14: 28 February 2025 (Full Day)
Detail – what to put in & what to leave out. Guest literary agent.

Session 15: 7 March 2025
The ethics of fiction; imagery & symbolism.

Session 16: 14 March 2025
How to deal with feedback.

Session 17: 21 March 2025 (Full Day)
The pitch & the synopsis. Guest author.

Session 18: 28 March 2025
Editing – structural – how to fix the big problems .


Session 19: 2 May 2025 (Full Day)
Editing – line by line – how to fix the details. Guest editor.

Session 20: 9 May 2025
How to keep momentum. Celebration.

All sessions are held in person at the Kathleen Syme Library at 251 Faraday Street, Carlton. The exact course content could be adjusted according to the experience and concerns of the group and availability of guest writers. The detail of the course is at the discretion of the Course Director and Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin.

Please note that course tutors may change ahead of the start date of the course.

How to Apply

To apply you will need to submit:

  • An online application answering several questions asked by our Writing A Novel tutor
  • An attachment with a sample of up to 1,000 words of prose

 The selective process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs and allows the tutor to determine your readiness for the course. Submit your application here.

What happens if I am accepted?

If you are accepted into Writing a Novel, you will be sent an email inviting you to take your place in the course from the Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin team. In order to secure your spot, you will be asked to pay a deposit of $630/ $535.50 (alumni). The deposit will count as your first monthly instalment, with another 9 monthly payments to be made at the end of each month from August 2024 – April 2025. Students may choose to pay the full course fee or settle their remainder at any point.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss further payment plan options via email or phone (02) 8425 0171.