Writing Creative Nonfiction Stage 1

w/ Rebecca Giggs

For aspiring literary nonfiction writers ready to leap in and get serious, this course will guide you through the process of planning and beginning your manuscript. You will develop key skills in collecting information, storytelling, reviewing material, and establishing a dedicated writing practice. Whether you are planning to write first-person memoir or deeply-researched reportage, this course will help you find the best way to present your facts.

23 March – 8 June 2021 (3 months)

11 x evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm AEDT) + 2 x 30-minute sessions of one-on-one time with your tutor


$ 2,250 / $ 1912.50 alumni

Award-winning author Rebecca Giggs will lead you through the process of writing engaging and authentic nonfiction: coming up with a promising concept; planning your research, from interviewing and deep reading through to immersive adventures; crafting memorable scenes and unforgettable stories; and rewriting (and rewriting, and rewriting) your drafts, until your words do justice to the world they describe.

With a reading list and guest speakers from around the world who are experts in creative nonfiction practice, this program will teach you what you need to make your writing stand out on the page and give readers what they are craving.

Using a combination of targeted writing exercises, group discussion and focused feedback sessions, the focus of this course will be on your own writing, with the aim of ending the course with a substantial body of new writing, heading towards a first draft of your manuscript.

  • Benefit from the structure of regular classes covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to pitching to publishers, encompassing note-taking, first draft(s), narrative structure, voice and style.
  • Learn from our experienced Course Director, as well as guest tutors including top authors, editors and agents.
  • Receive a personalised consultation on your project from your Course Director.
  • Get it done. When undertaken in conjunction with The Book Proposal: Writing Creative Nonfiction Stage 2, this is a flexible alternative to a creative writing MA, designed for people who are taking getting published seriously and who are prepared to fully engage in the hard work involved. In addition to these workshops, you will be devoting as much time as possible between classes to writing.
  • Receive invaluable feedback by having the chance to present your work to your class of other committed creative nonfiction writers.
  • Kickstart your career. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen.

This course can be followed with The Book Proposal: Writing Creative Nonfiction Stage 2.

Graduates of both Writing Creative Nonfiction: Stage 1 and The Book Proposal: Writing Creative Nonfiction Stage 2 will have the opportunity to be published in the annual Faber Writing anthology.

Writers you'll be working with:

Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs is an author from Perth, Australia. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Granta, and in anthologies including Best Australian Essays, and Best Australian Science Writing. Rebecca’s nonfiction focuses on how people feel towards animals in a time of technological and ecological change. Fathoms: The World in the…

Course outline

11 x evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm AEDT) + 2 x 30-minute one-on-one sessions with your Course Director.

The content listed below is comprehensive, but is still a guide only. The exact course content will be adjusted according to the experience and concerns of the group and the availability of guest writers. The detail of the course is at the discretion of the course director and Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin.

Session 1: Tuesday 23 March
Introductory Session: Goals, obstacles, desires, finding the essence of your nonfiction project. Why are you writing? What matters? What are your themes? Why this story – and why you to tell it?

Session 2: Tuesday 30 March
Beginnings: note-taking, planning and research. Establishing your practice and routines. Inspiration and perspiration. Diving in.


Session 3: Tuesday 13 April
Evocations: object, images, moments. Capturing the marvellous essence of things. Making your readers see, hear, remember – and feel.

Session 4: Tuesday 20 April
Making a scene: setting, dialogue, action. Turning real life into a palpable presence on the page.

Session 5: Tuesday 27 April
The star(s) of the show: characters. Who is this story really about – and who should tell it? Heroes, antagonists, narrators, bit players.
One-on-one consultations.

Session 6: Tuesday 4 May
Researching in earnest: interviews, archives, internets. Fieldwork: revisiting the scene of the crime; making things happen.

Session 7: Tuesday 11 May
The structure and shape of your manuscript. What happens next, and why? Chronology vs argumentation. Conflict: Why conflict matters, how to find it and use it to escalate drama and tension.

Session 8: Tuesday 18 May
Experiments with form: now that it’s coming together, let’s mix it up! Fragments, digressions and other creative, non-traditional approaches to crafting nonfiction.
One-on-one consultations

Session 9: Tuesday 25 May
Guest Agent. Eye-catching openings, elevator pitches. Writing that killer proposal.

Session 10: Tuesday 1 June
Being gorgeous: style. Language, metaphor, voice. Making sure your voice matches – and strengthens – your story.

Session 11: Tuesday 8 June
Editing Boot Camp – Rewriting, revisioning and how to know when you’re ready for ‘the final edit’.


How to Book

The course is booked out. Use the FREE booking button to join the waitlist and we will let you know if a place becomes available or if the course is scheduled to run again.

The information below is for those who have already secured a place.

To secure your place in this course you can choose to pay either the full course fee, or a deposit only.

If you choose to pay the deposit two further payments of $ 975/ $ 828.75 alumni will be required. The first will be due on 13 April 2021 and the second on 11 May 2021. We will send payment instructions for these closer to the time.

If you wish to sign up for Stage 2: The Book Proposal (26 June – 29 July) at the same time, you will be eligible for the alumni price on Stage 1 as well as Stage 2. Please select the relevant box when you pay your deposit. You will pay an additional $ 300 deposit for The Book Proposal: Writing Creative Nonfiction Stage 2, ie: a total of $ 600. If you later decide not to proceed to this stage, your additional deposit is not refundable.