Residential Masterclass 2018: Reading & Writing the Novel

Reading & Writing the Novel

with Claire Corbett

A six-day residency reading, writing and talking about the art and craft of the novel with Claire Corbett.
At Varuna, the National Writers House in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

CORBETT Claire 2Monday 23 July to Sunday 29 July 2018
Applications close 30 March 2018

The Reading and Writing the Novel Residential Masterclass includes:
Private writing time in your own writing studio
• One on one consultation as well as group sessions led by Claire Corbett
• Six nights accommodation at Varuna including meals


About Claire Corbett
Claire Corbett is a writer and award-winning teacher of literature, film and creative writing. She writes novels, creative non-fiction, journalism, and short stories. Her first novel, WHEN WE HAVE WINGS, was published in 2011 by Allen & Unwin and shortlisted for the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award and the 2012 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and published overseas. Recent fiction and essays have been published in Best Australian Stories 2014 & 2015, Griffith Review, Southerly and Overland. She has written on defence and strategy for The Diplomat, The Strategist and The Monthly. Her second novel, WATCH OVER ME, is published by Allen & Unwin in May 2017.

She teaches writing at the University of Technology, Sydney and Master Classes in Writing with Thomas Keneally. In 2016 she was awarded a UTS Teaching and Learning Award for Outstanding Achievement for writing and teaching a new course on speculative fiction.

More information on Claire Corbett can be found on her website:

Reading and Writing the Novel - what makes long-form fiction tick
We will read excerpts from a variety of great novels, as well as some critical literature, and investigate how these stories work, why they affect us and what we can learn from their style and techniques.

This course will explore both the practical and the more mysterious processes that combine to make your novel spring to life. We will look at form and voice and story: how to start, how to progress your story, what it takes to engage and absorb ourselves and our readers. We'll reflect on specific aspects of how novels work. We can also discuss applying our insights to what publishers and assessors look for and the publishing process.

Writers will bring part of a novel in progress, most likely the beginning stages of the work, to share with the group. Each writer will have a private session with Claire as well as participating in group sessions. These provide a supportive framework for you to spend much of the week dedicated to your own writing, working in the peaceful and productive environment of Varuna.

What Writers Say

UTS Writing Course feedback:

Claire was extremely knowledgeable and fascinating. I love this class, she is an amazing teacher.

Claire was super knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject, and it was very obvious in the quality of her teaching. She clearly cared for her work and for the development of her students and I would gladly have her as a teacher again. Definitely became my favourite subject because of her.

Really enjoyed it, has been my favourite Creative Writing subject!! And Claire was very good, was very thorough and helpful in workshop feedback as well as teaching.

Master Class with Thomas Keneally feedback:
Experienced tutors, extremely knowledgeable with practical examples to illustrate everything they told us. Loved the introduction of examples from film and poetry too. Very good readings every week and useful exercises we had to complete.

Strengths include the expertise of Claire, the development of comradery, excellent choice of readings.
I think the most valuable things I learned were shifting perspectives, trying to look from other peoples' point of view but also looking askance at things to create different voices.

Loved all of it. Wish it could have been longer!

How much does it cost
The fee for the residency is $1,750 including accommodation, workshops and meals.
A special discount is available to all financial Varuna Alumni of $1,450.

How to apply
Varuna is accepting applications for the Reading and Writing the Novel Residential Masterclass now

Writers interested in participating in the Reading and Writing the Novel Residential Masterclass need to submit a short Expression of Interest (EOI) to Varuna in an online application. Your EOI should include a short, specific statement letting us know what you would most like to gain or to work on during the week, a sample of your novel writing (up to 20 pages) and a paragraph about your experience as a writer. Please also include a cover sheet with your name and contact details.

Please save your EOI and your submission (up to 20 pages of your novel writing), including the downloadable cover sheet, as a single document in PDF format. The title of your saved document should include your name and the words ‘NOVEL EOI’ (eg 'Mary Smith NOVEL EOI'). 
Applications close 30 March 2018. Applicants will be notified of the selection outcome by 11 April 2018.

More information
If you need further information about the application process contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone 02 4782 5674. Regarding the residency please contact Amy Sambrooke the Varuna Creative Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information about staying at Varuna and our programs can be found on our website.

Click here to go back to Residential Masterclass information.

Click HERE to go to GUIDELINES and APPLICATION FORM - applications for the Reading and Writing the Novel Residential Masterclass are now accepted