sydney
sydney

Writing a Novel

w/ Pip Smith, Lauren Aimee Curtis 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.

Tuesdays 6.30pm – 8.30pm, 25 February – 23 September 2025

Allen & Unwin – Sydney

Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin – Sydney
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065

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$6,800 / $5,780 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 (February – May), 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 (July – September) 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 across both Australia and the United Kingdom.

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 across Australia and the United Kingdom.

Writers you'll be working with:

Lauren Aimee Curtis

Lauren Aimee Curtis is the author of the novels Dolores and Strangers at the Port. In 2023, she was named on Granta’s once-in-a-decade Best of the Young British Novelists list. Her writing has appeared in The White Review, Catapult, Sydney Review of Books, Best Summer Stories, and New Australian Fiction 2021, among other publications. Her…

Pip Smith

Pip Smith is a writer of poetry, fiction, literary criticism and punk songs. She was named an SMH Best Young Novelist of 2018 for her debut novel, Half Wild, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Voss Literary award, the Davitt Award, and longlisted for an ABIA Best Debut Fiction award. Her first collection of poetry, Too Close…

Course outline

The course consists of 22 online evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm AEDT), 6 half-day sessions (Saturdays 1.00pm to 4.00pm) and an additional evening session dedicated to the Faber Writing Anthology.

Session 1: Tuesday 25 February
Introduction

Session 2: Tuesday 4 March
The workshop process

Session 3: Saturday 8 March
Beginnings

Session 4: Tuesday 11 March
Voice

Session 5: Tuesday 18 March
Point of View

Session 6: Saturday 22 March
Guest author and introduction to dialogue

Session 7: Tuesday 25 March
Tense

Session 8: Tuesday 1 April
Dialogue – tension and subtext

Session 9: Tuesday 8 April
Dialogue exercises

EASTER AND ANZAC DAY BREAK

Session 10: Tuesday 29 April
Introspection

Session 11: Saturday 3 May
Place and setting

Session 12: Tuesday 6 May
Introduction to character

Session 13: Tuesday 13 May
Author guest and more on character

Session 14: Tuesday 20 May
Establishing your writing practise

Session 15: Tuesday 27 May
Project check in and writing exercises

COURSE BREAK

Session 16: Tuesday 22 July
Pace

Session 17: Tuesday 29 July
Introduction to plot and structure

Session 18: Tuesday 5 August
Pattern and design in narrative

Session 19: Saturday 9 August
Backstory, time shifts and narrative time

Session 20: Tuesday 12 August
Research, ethics and appropriation

Session 21: Tuesday 19 August
Editing your work and guest editor

Session 22: Tuesday 26 August
Synopsis, blurbs and pitches

Session 23: Saturday 30 August
Editing processes and modelling exercise

Session 24: Tuesday 2 September
Reading your work – voice coach

Session 25: Tuesday 9 September
A&U editor guest – anthology Q&A

Session 26: Saturday 13 September
Titles and covers

Session 27: Tuesday 16 September
Literary agent guest

Session 28: Tuesday 23 September
Final readings. Where to from here? Advice for completion.

Faber Writing Anthology sessions:

  •         Session 29: Meet the Editor in Residence
  •         Session 30: Meet the Faber UK Team

All Saturday sessions are held in person at the Allen & Unwin offices at 83 Alexander Street, Crows Nest, and are fully catered. Evening sessions are hosted on Zoom, except for the first and final evening of each stage, which will also take place in person in Crows Nest.

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.

Praise for this course

‘Having a weekly lesson that included both direction and writing exercises was an ideal balance and I found it very generative.’

‘Having undertaken several similar courses, I can confidently say that this course offers the best delivery and value for money.’

‘Fabulous teaching. Fantastic tutors and guest lecturers. Wonderful, supportive, encouraging atmosphere. I can’t even think of anything to suggest to make it better.’

‘The lessons were awesome – totally eye opening and taught in a really logical and accessible way. I really felt like we were putting the building blocks in place for a solid foundation of understanding.’  

How to Apply

To apply for Writing A Novel, we ask that students first apply through our scholarship program, which involves submitting:

  • An online application answering several questions asked by our Writing a Novel tutors
  • 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. The deposit will count as your first monthly instalment. Students may choose to pay the full course fee or settle the remainder at any point.

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