Profile Writing

Learn the secrets to telling other people’s stories.

This course is ideal for: Feature writers who want to hone their skills in writing compelling profiles

You will learn:
How to write a compelling profile article
The best pace and voice for your story
How to capture an individual's personality and characteristics
The ideal way to start a profile
And much more






At your own pace

Interviews, insights, invaluable information...

  • Do you want to write great profiles?
  • Do you know how to get into the mind of your interview subject?
  • Can you get to the real guts of their story?
  • Are you asking the right questions to get the best answers?
  • Learn how to create compelling articles from a seasoned expert!

Attention magazine freelance writers. This is an opportunity for you to learn from one of the best profile writers in Australia. David Leser has been writing profiles for more than two decades for Australian and overseas publications. He has penned portraits on everyone from the Dalai Lama to Alan Jones; Meryl Streep to Gina Rinehart; Helen Garner to Carla Bruni, Ingrid Betancourt to Julian Assange.

You can read just some of his compelling profiles here.

Impressive, right? But hey, they’re just people – and the same set of rules apply whether they are a high-profile celebrity, CEO or a humble farmhand with a great story to tell.

In this three-hour presentation, David will help hone your skills in the art of feature profile writing and what it takes to bring a person’s life to the page (and leap off it!).

"David's Profile Writing course was an excellent investment. The insights he shared from decades of journalism experience and his curiosity about people was infectious. The workshopping of ideas was valuable and he made us all believe that it was possible to bring to life the story of just about anybody."

- Brad Kelly

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to write a compelling profile.
  • Finding the right voice for a particular story (they will differ).
  • How to best pace a story (meter and internal rhythm).
  • Finding the way in to a story (how to write a good lead to grab your readers’ interest).
  • How to best use quotes, metaphors and similes.
  • How to be tough when necessary, but also fair and scrupulous.
  • The importance of good research: what to keep in a story and what to discard.
  • Checking (and protecting) sources.
  • Examining the motivation of your subject and of those who talk to you about them.

Please note: This class assumes you already have some basic knowledge (e.g. how to pitch to editors etc) – things covered in our freelance writing foundation courses.

As this course is focused on David’s experiences in profile writing, it is structured differently to our other courses. It gives you the chance to be in a small group and tap into the experiences and insight of one of Australia’s top feature writers. While you will not have the opportunity to workshop your writing during the three hours, you WILL learn valuable wisdom from the best in the business – entertained and inspired by David's stories and professional journey.

Due to its presentation-style format, online users will get just as much from this course as those attending in person. Purchasing the online version gives you instant access to David's full presentation, which has been professionally filmed and presented in six modules for you to enjoy at your pace.

"David is an expert and experienced professional who I could listen to and absorb info from for hours. I enjoyed learning about the process he used for different articles and his stories and examples. I have done about 5 courses/workshops at AWC and would highly recommend them for their practicality, presenters and content. They have launched so many successful writing careers!"

- Nicola Saltman

Profile Writing with David Leser

How our “self-paced courses” work

Profile Writing is one of AWC’s 20+ “self-paced” online courses. But what does that mean? Allow us to explain:


What’s included in your online course?

  • Over 2 hours of content – access anytime at your own pace
  • 6 video lessons plus 9 supporting handouts

"The Profile Writing course run by the incredibly talented David Leser is hands-down one of the most entertaining and informative courses I have ever done. We were all sitting on the edge of our seats listening to David's tales and learning from his experiences. Not only was this course informative with tips and advice but it was completely inspiring, showing how stories and gold can be found in the lives of those we profile. I walked out of this course ready to turn around and walk back in for a repeat performance and I know I wasn't the only one who felt that way. I simply can't recommend David Leser's course more highly."

- Lisa Schofield

About David Leser

David Leser is an award-winning feature writer who has worked for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, HQ, The Bulletin, Good Weekend, Australian Women’s Weekly, Vanity FairNewsweek and The Daily Beast. He has also worked as a Washington and Jerusalem-based correspondent.

He is a prominent Australian journalist, author and public interviewer. David is widely known in Australia for his in-depth profiles and stories on social and political issues.

David is the author of seven books including his 2014 memoir, To Begin To Know: Walking in the Shadows of My Father, a deeply moving and searingly honest memoir about fathers and sons. He is Executive Producer of the documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me.

He is a four times Walkley Finalist and Walkley Winner for Feature Writing for “Who’s Afraid of Alan Jones.” He has also won three Magazine Publishers Association Awards.


We’ll bring the world-class course content, industry-savvy presenters and a diverse community of like-minded people.
You just bring yourself.