Writing a Novel (Daytime)
A comprehensive six-month writing course for the serious writer, with access to some of the biggest names in publishing. If you're thinking about a creative writing MA, consider this practical alternative.
Looking for the evening version of the course? Click here.
What do these levels mean?
- Start Date
- Thursdays, 10.30–13.30
- Application Deadline
- Sunday 15 Sep 2024
£670 / month for 5 months and a £1,000.00 deposit
View payment options
Dedicate six months to your novel
This is our flagship course, which has seen alumni such as S J Watson, Rachel Joyce, Gail Honeyman and Alice Feeney go on to conquer bestseller lists around the world. Designed by the Director of our Fiction Programme, Richard Skinner, it's a six-month deep dive into the art of the novel, with sessions on every aspect you'll need to take you from the bare bones of a draft to a finished novel. You'll also hear from guest speakers including published alumni, Faber authors and senior Faber editors.
It's also a chance to build a writing group that you can take with you into your future writing career. Over the course of the six months, you and your classmates will give feedback on each other's work, honing your own editorial eye as well as helping them develop their stories, and will be there to cheer each other on as you approach the finishing line of your first draft.
Is this the right course for me?
This is an advanced course, designed as a practical alternative to a Creative Writing MA. Accordingly, it's not suitable for writers who would consider themselves complete beginners. That doesn't mean you need to have taken courses before, but it does mean that you need to feel confident that you're ready to start work on your novel. You will also need to have an idea for it – it might be one you've been working on for a while, or it could be something a little more unformed that you're hoping to pin down with the help of the course.
In weekly workshops, we'll cover everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words on the page, narrative structure, character development and editing. You'll be learning from our experienced Course Directors, as well as guest tutors including top authors from Faber and elsewhere, editors, agents and industry professionals – and, of course, the fourteen other dedicated writers in your class.
You'll receive one-to-one feedback from your tutor and you'll also have 10,000 words of your novel workshopped in class during your peer presentation sessions.
If you're looking to start a career as a writer, there is no better way to get going on the road to publication than to meet the people who make that happen every day. Hear talks from the likes of Faber Executive Chair Stephen Page and Faber commissioning editors, then put your work in front of London's top literary agents once the course is over in the much-anticipated anthology.
This course consists of three-hour daytime sessions from 10.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. and six two-hour guest sessions and four one-to-one sessions from 2.30 – 4.30. p.m. All sessions take place on Thursdays.
Each tutor listed on this page will lead their own class of no more than fifteen students.
Please note: your tutor may adapt the titles, order or content of these sessions based on the needs or interests of the students in any given class.
Thursday 3 October, 10.30 – 13.30
Introductory Session: Creating Ide...
10 October, 10.30 – 13.30
Character, Part One...
17 October, 10.30 – 13.30
Character, Part Two and Guest Tuto...
Shelley Weiner is an acclaimed novelist, short-story writer and journalist who has, over the years, established a reputation...More About This Tutor
Sabrina Broadbent's debut novel, Descent, won the WH Smith Raw Talent award. Her other novels are A Boy’s Guide to Track and...More About This Tutor
Nikesh Shukla is an novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of Coconut Unlimited (shortlisted for the Costa First Novel...More About This Tutor
How to Apply
Places on this course are limited and keenly contested, but we strive to keep the application process as simple as possible. The three steps to apply are outlined below:
Reading your application, tutors are looking to get a sense of you as a writer and as a member of the group. As such, we don't have specific requirements from your covering letter, but it's a good opportunity to tell us what you want to get out of the course, what sort of writing experience you've had, why you've chosen us and why you've decided to do it now.
Prose sample (1,000 words max)
Your sample does not have to be a complete story, and it doesn't have to be from the novel you want to write on the course – just representative, so the tutors can get a good idea of what you'll be working on. If you're planning on writing first-person comic sci-fi on the course, don't send your omnisciently narrated historical mystery!
Submit your application
That's it! We'll aim to respond to all applications within ten days of the application deadline.
51 Hatton Garden
London EC1N 8HN
How to get here
Faber’s office, The Bindery, is well connected by public transport, with Farringdon Station just five minutes’ walk away, and stops for several bus routes in the area too. If you’re coming from outside of London, the office is a short bus or taxi journey from Kings Cross, Euston and St Pancras stations.
The course I did at the Faber Academy was literally life-changing. The teaching and support it offered unlocked something very deep within me and allowed me to finally connect fully with my creativity. I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who wants to take their writing to the next level.
It is almost ten years now since I signed up to do the Faber Writing a Novel course and I can honestly say that barely a writing-day goes by when I do not think about what I learned and how I felt during those six months. Sending off my application is one of the best decisions I have made.
Joanna gave me confidence in my writing and the tools and framework I needed to get going, making a task that had felt insurmountable seem achievable. I can't recommend her or the course highly enough.
It's not an overstatement to say the Faber Academy changed my life. It gave me the confidence to take my writing seriously and the courage to share my work with others. I learned so much about the mechanics of good writing as well as the importance of resilience, persistence, and the power of keeping the faith.
I completed Faber Academy's wonderful Writing A Novel course in 2015 and loved every minute! [...] I learnt everything I needed to know to write my debut novel and sell it all over the world. The course gave me the skills and, most importantly, the confidence to complete my first book and launch a successful career as an author. It was so much fun and I made life-long friends along the way. If you're thinking of applying for this course, then do it! It's the best in the industry.
From the electric first class to the ‘I can’t believe it’s over’ last session, learning at Faber Academy was formative and empowering. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my books wouldn’t exist without that experience. I left with so much more than an agent and pathway to publication, including a deep understanding of my voice and new friends who I’m still in touch with eight years later.
Going on the Faber six-month Writing a Novel course was a pivotal moment in my writing career. Not only did it give me crucial guidance on how to think about, structure, edit and receive feedback on my work, it made me take myself seriously as a writer for the first time. Perhaps most importantly, it also provided me with an incredible group of allies, friends and first readers who still support me to this day.
Faber Academy was a real game changer for me. I'd been writing and collecting rejections for a long time. Richard Skinner is the best teacher I've ever had and the course was invaluable, it literally changed my life. Seven years on, I've written seven novels. I'm a New York Times bestselling author, my books are published in over thirty languages, and two of my novels are currently being adapted for screen by Netflix. I have the best job in the world, my dreams literally came true, it all started with Faber and I'm forever grateful.
My time at Faber was a pivotal turning point in my writing life. It taught me to cut to the core of my story – to find it, to know it – but most importantly, it taught me to be a more ruthless editor. That’s what I’d been missing, I think. The weekly dialogue with other aspiring writers forced me to be more forensic, and to question more deeply what I was putting on the page.
The best investment I have ever made in myself [...] The last six months has been an incredible journey – one of the most difficult, most challenging but most satisfying ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time do I need to commit to this course outside of the classes?
We usually say you’ll need to set aside five to seven hours per week, outside of class time. This is for your own writing – sometimes in response to a particular task your tutor has set you, but generally just for making progress on your novel – and for reading the extracts of the students being workshopped the following week. If you have more time available for writing, that’s absolutely brilliant. But five to seven hours will keep everything ticking over nicely.
How do you allocate tutors? Can I request a specific tutor?
The tutors read all the applications and they, along with the Academy team, then put together class lists based on a couple of factors. There may be students writing on subjects or in genres that the tutors feel they’d be helpful with, or with writing samples that particularly excite them. We’re also looking to put together groups who will complement each other and provide a broad range of experience and interest. So for example, we’ll try and avoid a situation where fourteen of you are writing crime and one of you is writing epic fantasy.
You’re more than welcome to request a specific tutor and we’ll do what we can to facilitate that if it’s possible, once those other considerations have been taken into account.
Is there an evening version of this course?
Yes! You can find the full schedule and apply for that here.
I'm available for both the day and evening version of the course – can I apply for both?
Absolutely – you’ll just need to submit two separate applications. And if you’re available for either, but have a preference for one, we ask that you indicate that on your application as it will be helpful when we’re putting together potential class lists.
I'll need to miss a couple of sessions because of other commitments. Does this matter?
Not necessarily! It’s often the case that students have to miss a session over the course of the six months. You’d just need to let your tutor know in advance so that they can give you any handouts you’ll miss, and you’ll usually find that your classmates will be happy to share notes afterwards too. Having said that, if you know you’d be missing more than two consecutive classes, that’s a little different. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise.
How many other people will there be in my class?
There are fifteen students per class.
How often will I get feedback on my work, and will I have one-to-one time with my tutor?
You’ll receive feedback from the entire group on 10,000 words of your novel – this is usually done in two separate peer presentation sessions of 5,000 words, spaced out during the six months. These discussions are led by your tutor. You’ll also have a one-to-one with your tutor towards the end of the course.
Will I get access to agents and editors as part of this course?
Yes. You’ll have guest speaker sessions with at least one agent and editor during the course, and these slots include a Q&A session where you’ll be able to ask them your own questions. You’ll also submit an extract of your novel to us at the end of the course for inclusion in our anthology. We send this to a long list of UK literary agents, and they’ll be able to contact you directly if they’d like to see more.
I already have a literary agent. Can I still take this course?
Yes, absolutely. We’ve had previously published and currently agented authors take the course before, for many reasons – whether you’re looking to build up your technical knowledge, or changing genre, or just feel in need of the structure of a course and the camaraderie of a group, we’re more than happy to see an application from you even if you’re at the more experienced side of the scale.
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