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Writing a Verse Novel

Verse novels combine poetry and prose in inventive ways, and tell a long-form narrative through verse.

They're experimental forms that allow a lot of freedom and versatility. They’re particularly popular, including with YA and middle grade readers. What makes them so alluring? And how does one begin to craft a verse novel? What are the benefits and what are the challenges?

In this workshop we’ll examine a variety of contemporary verse novels and discuss the various poetic techniques they use. We’ll explore strategies and exercises to get your novel started and looks at ways to keep the narrative moving.


Learning Outcomes:

  • The origins of the verse novel
  • How contemporary verse novels work
  • Advantages and disadvantages of writing in verse
  • Strategies to get your verse novel started
  • How to balance poetic and narrative techniques
  • Strategies to move your novel along if it stalls


'A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose. Either simple or complex stanzaic verse-forms may be used, but there will usually be a large cast, multiple voices, dialogue, narration, description, and action in a novelistic manner.' Wikipedia

Some great examples of stunning verse novels are Sharon's own The Art of Taxidermy and Dorothy Porter's The Monkey's Mask.



About Sharon Kernot

Sharon Kernot is a poet, short story writer and novelist. Her latest book, ‘The Art of Taxidermy’, a YA verse novel (Text Publishing, 2018) has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Her writing has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including Best Australian Poems, APJ, Island Magazine, Verandah, Mascara, Southerly, Meniscus, Aesthetica, and Australian Love Stories.


WSA Member $88 / Non-member $140

Venue: TBA - Adelaide CBD


—All staff, speakers, and attendees of in-person events must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or hold a current medical exemption, in order to attend; and must comply with any precautionary measures Writers SA puts in place. We may request proof of your vaccination status or medical exemption upon entry. See our full policy here.

—Writers SA members must be logged in to receive the member discount. If you would like to use a workshop credit to book in, please contact [email protected] at least five working days before the workshop commencement date. Our staff don’t work full time and we don’t want you to miss out!

If you're interested in this workshop, you might also be interested in our long term Poetry Studio program with Jill Jones. Check it out via the Summer program listing.

  • Starts: February 26th, 2022 1:00 PM
  • Finishes: February 26th, 2022 4:00 PM

Registration Details

Writing a Verse Novel

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