His writings focus primarily on migrant experience. Zable is known as a storyteller - through his memoirs, short stories and novels. Australian critic Susan Varga says that Zable"s award-winning memoir, Jewels and Ashes, "was a ground-breaking book in Australia, one of the first of what has since become a distinct auto/biographical genre: a second-generation writer returns to the scene of unspeakable crimes to try to understand a fraught and complex legacy, and, in so doing, embarks on a journey into the self." In an interview Zable explained that the rights and experiences of refugees and asylum seekers underpins his work: The current generation of refugees are experiencing the intense challenges faced by previous generations.
We tend to forget, or fail to imagine, how difficult it is to start life anew far from the homeland.
We forget also that nostalgia, the longing for the return to homeland, is a deep and enduring aspect of the refugee experience. In the same interview he said about his language that "I am drawn to the quirky sayings and observations that define a person or a culture".
1991 National Council Lysbeth Cohen Award for Jewels and Ashes.