Join us in congratulating the following Faber Academy Alumni!
• Jessica Rowe, one of Australia's best known TV presenters, has just signed a deal with Allen & Unwin to publish her memoir. Jessica is currently doing our True Stories: Writing Memoir and Narrative Non-Fiction course with Patti Miller.
• Fleur Ferris, an alumna of the Getting Published as a Writer for Children (Melbourne) course, now has a contract with the Curtis Brown agency. Fleur said the advice she received at the course about her YA novel, Jolted, was 'invaluable'. Great news Fleur!
• We are pleased to report that Colette McBeth, an alumna of Writing A Novel UK, has just signed a two-book deal with Headline for her novel Precious Thing. We all predict big things for it. Congratulations Colette.
• Jo Riccione, a graduate of Faber Academy's 2011 Writing a Novel course in Sydney, has already secured a contract with Scribe for her novel.
• The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the debut novel by Faber Academy (UK) alumni Rachel Joyce, was published in March, has been longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and is on the UK Sunday Times bestseller list; Rachel now has 30 publishers around the world.
• SJ Watson, a graduate of Faber Academy (UK), has had his novel Before I Go to Sleep, published in 2011. It went to No. 1 on the UK's Sunday Times bestseller list and is now being made into a movie.
• Are you a Faber Academy alumni? All Faber Alumni receive a discount on courses and can purchase books from the Allen & Unwin website at a special price. Alumni should contact us if they need the details on how to do this.
How I Wrote My Novel:
Transworld acquires Faber Academy alumnus:
S J Watson’s novel picked up by literary agent through Faber Course
Faber Academy Writing a Novel student Rachel Joyce on the 2012 Man Booker longlist
2012 Writing a Novel Anthology
Don't miss out on a copy—a free e-version can be downloaded to Kindle via Amazon (do your search on 'Writing a Novel Bradley') or via Booki.sh retailer sites such as Readings, Gleebooks, Avid Reader, Fullers, and other independent booksellers.
Getting Published (Melbourne 2012)
Such a rare opportunity to learn about the mysterious world of publishing from one of its masters, Sue Hines. Years of study did not and could not have taught me what Sue covered in a single day. She is patient without being patronising, honest and very generous with her sharing of knowledge. I took a punt in travelling from Adelaide for the workshop and was not disappointed. My individual questions received full, frank and fearless answers and my work was expertly assessed and commented on. Invaluable industry insights, delicious food, and a fistful of readings to take home, chosen for their usefulness by a publisher no less. Sue motivated and inspired me. It was well worth $295.
Getting Published (Sydney 2012)
Last month, I attended a Faber Academy one-day course on 'Getting Published' at Allen & Unwin's offices in Sydney.
Trade Publishing Director at Allen & Unwin, Sue Hines provided valuable information to the 15 participants on the current state of publishing in Australia, the markets for different genres, how to prepare a good publishing proposal, the main reasons manuscripts are rejected, and how to edit that all-important first page, as well as giving individual feedback on the first two pages of the participants' manuscripts.
This excellent course was directed at new and emerging writers who benefited greatly from the advice and direction provided by Sue.
Congratulations to Allen & Unwin for holding this informative course. New and emerging writers should not hesitate to spend the $295 it cost to gain such privileged access to an experienced publisher.
2012 Fringe Writers' Festival
Australian Writers Network
ID Editing and Publishing Consultancy
Writing a Novel (Sydney 2011)
"I started with 10,000 words and ended up with a 60,000 word first draft so this course was very helpful indeed ... Very professional, but also very friendly and relaxed, and I appreciated that."
"Like every other aspect of the course, and putting aside the brilliance of James and Kathryn, the organisation and delivery over the past six months has been flawless. Faber Academy empowers you to write and think like a writer. The question for me is no longer if I will finish my book, but when."
" I benefited from having somewhere I needed to show up every Tuesday night! The simple act of attending class held me more accountable to the writing process than I tend to hold myself. James shared valuable insights into his writing process and provided support and encouragement unstintingly ... we all really appreciated his willingness to work so hard to add extra tutorials. It is really nice to feel that the instructor genuinely cares about his students' welfare!"
"I loved the course and have been raving about it ever since. I define the value of the Faber course in that it has given me all the basic writing tools I need to write a novel - it's now up to me to provide the 'umpf' of writing the actual book, but in terms of nuts and bolts, inspiration, encouragement and ideas the course has provided them all ... The other participants on the course provided constant inspiration and encouragement in a very collegiate atmosphere ... I found the course life-changing in that it has given me the tools and confidence that I can write a novel and, if the Gods smile, it might actually be publishable."
"I found the course to be helpful on a number of levels: the regular classes encouraged me to become more disciplined in the act of writing; It gave me a deadline for a draft which I managed to complete; it introduced me to a community of writers; it provided a wealth of knowledge and experience, both personal and practical, to further explore my own ideas and the craft of writing; it gave me the confidence that I can write a novel ... The guest speakers and tutors were fantastic. All the staff were warm and encouraging and Kathryn Heyman was such an inspiration. Not only did she provide insight into the craft but she helped me to realise that I love to write!"
"It was very helpful to have acknowledgement and discussion about the challenges of the writing process both mechanically, and personally ... Because of the approach everyone was supported and challenged equitably and enthusiastically. Like most I am sure, I didn't want the course to end and hold it as a great experience that I won't forget. It has set my life on a new and exciting path."
"The Faber Academy Novel Writing course gave me a much needed framework and deadlines to work seriously on my novel with the benefit of proper feedback from experienced novelists. Listening to the guest authors reveal their writing processes and offer practical advice to new writers was priceless. Almost as importantly, the weekly meetings and day workshops with other attendees, all grappling with their own books, dispersed a little of the loneliness of writing and became a kind of mutual therapy that I think we all missed very much when the course ended."
"This is a great writing course. Inspiring and practical and full of wisdom and fun. It was a privilege to learn from great teachers and share with wonderful fellow writers."
"I think I can speak for everyone in saying that this course has really been more than a course. In 6 unforgettable months, James and Kathryn have carefully delivered to us the essential tools required to fully articulate those nagging ideas circling in our souls. They have enabled us to plan and move forward with manuscripts that now have a hope of coming to life. It is not only this gift but the way in which they achieved this that has made it so significant ... honest and encouraging, there has been humour and pain in equal measure ... and patient accommodation of individual struggles both professional and personal It's been epic, it's been dramatic, it's been confronting, it's been great. Tuesday nights have never been so rewarding nor any Saturday so inspiring. Thank you."
"I found Kathryn to be funny, wise, professional and highly skilled at teaching the craft. I think she is a gifted teacher. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course to a friend. It was much better than any university course I've done."
True Stories (2012)
"The support and camaraderie; trust and respect we built up as a group was essential and very much a plus ... I was quite intimidated prior to doing this course - publishing houses were like God. I found you all most approachable and human!"
What's your writing background?
I would like to be able to say I was "forever scribbling stories as a child" and "always knew I wanted to write", but I can't. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to read – anything and everything. I subsequently did a BA in English and a Masters in Medieval Literature (yes, really, I'll read anything). I dabbled with editing and did a bit of corporate writing. It was only when I had babies and my brain was beginning to turn to mashed pumpkin that my sister told me to start writing in order to stay sane. So I did.
What attracted you to the Writing a Novel course?
I'd won a few short story competitions and been published in some collections. I was getting an anthology together for an interested publisher. A friend in my writer's group who knew I'd been working on a novel for years on and off, told me she'd signed up for the Faber course and said there was a place left "with my name on it". I joined late, mainly with the objective of setting a framework and some deadlines around writing this novel. When my interested publisher (Scribe) found out I was writing a longer piece of fiction, they asked to see the early chapters and gave me an advance based on those. I'm almost ashamed to say how little there was to show them. They've been waiting for the final draft for some time.
Tell us about your novel.
My novel, The Onorati, is due out in February 2014, published by Scribe. It is set in an East Anglian farming community in 1949 and a small village in the mountains south of Rome during World War II. It charts the growing friendship between Connie Farrington, a 17-year-old shop-assistant at Cleat's Corner Store, and the immigrant Onorati brothers, recently arrived from Italy with their father, to work the farm where he was once a prisoner of war. Connie sees in the Onorati a window to the bigger world, beyond the trivial concerns and gossip of Leyton. Meanwhile the Italians are discovering an England very different from the one promised to them by their abusive father. Vittorio embraces his new life, determined to reinvent himself, but Connie begins to understand that his older brother, Lucio, is haunted by the secrets of the past, by events that tether him to Italy, so that he can only see what he once was and not what he might become.
Did your direction/ideas/plans change much during the course?
I would say my writing style didn't change, but what changed was my attitude towards plotting and mapping out the narrative arc of my story. When James made us write a book blurb and synopsis for our novels, I realised I was shying away from pinning down my plot. I've heard some writers say they don't work in this way or they find it restrictive, but plotting really helped me when I was simply lost and staring at a blank screen. There's plenty of room for spontaneity when the words are flowing. Of course, my synopsis, like many of my colleagues on the course, seemed to change on a daily basis at first, but then it seemed to settle and after a while, whenever I was overwhelmed (or should I say underwhelmed) with the writing, I would go back to that blurb and synopsis to remind myself what I was trying to achieve.
What was the single best piece of advice you received during the course?
Margo Lanagan gave the one piece of advice that I keep going back to. She said that some days the writing goes really well and other days it feels like drawing blood from a stone, but when you go back and re-read what you've written, you'll find it very hard to tell which words belong to which days. So the most important thing is to just keep turning up at the desk.
Describe your ultimate dream writing workshop.
It wouldn't be a writing workshop, exactly. Instead I'd be a fly on Hilary Mantel's desk and I'd be able to see just how many times she writes and re-writes those beautiful sentences, that incredible dialogue. And, hopefully, I could console myself that when she first types them they are pretty ordinary … so there's hope one day I, too, might be able to transform, "It was a lovely day" into "The clear untroubled light picks out each berry shimmering in a hedge. Each leaf of a tree, the sun behind it, hangs like a golden pear."