Start Your Memoir (Five Days)

Starting out | Non-fiction
Is there anything harder for a writer to capture than the truth of a life? Where even to start?
This intensive five-day course will set you on the journey of writing your memoir or autobiography. In a creative and supportive environment, discover ways of accessing memories and recognising their inherent shape, of finding your writing voice, of bringing the details to life, of creating the lived reality of your experience on the page and finding its structure. You will also explore the difficulties of truth-telling, including the issues of the borderlands with fiction and the problem of self-indulgence. There will be readings and discussions and lots of writing and workshopping, with individual comment on your work. It is skills-based and will encourage and extend both beginners and more experienced writers. The course will be based on the text Writing True Stories by the course's acclaimed tutor, Patti Miller.
20th - 24th September 2021

Availability: In stock

14 Places

The course runs 10am–2pm each day (session 1, 10–11.45am; session 2, 12–2pm) after which time you will have the opportunity to stay in the room for individual writing time until 4pm. Lunch is not provided, but plenty of refreshments will be available from 9.45am.

Day One, Monday 20 September 2021

Session 1

What and why do you want to write; how to get started; overcoming procrastination and making time; openings – the many ways to invite your reader in.

Session 2

The value of memory-based writing; how to access memory; other sources - research and interview; how to incorporate research material.

Day Two

Session 1

Observation based writing; how to write the detail, creating the lived texture of experience; how to access the senses

Session 2

The difference between showing and telling; how to create the three-dimensional feel of life

Day Three

Session 1

Voice – who is writing this book?; changing perspective; closeness and distance in Voice

Session 2

Guest writer

This afternoon there will be a guest author, an experienced memoir/non-fiction writer to share knowledge and experience with you.

Day Four

Session 1

The difficulties of truth –telling; surviving truth-telling; borderlands of fiction – can you ‘invent’ anything in memoir?

Session 2

Self Indulgence – all about me; saving memoir from self-indulgence; how to widen the context

Day Five

Session 1

How to Structure; organic structure emerging from material; chronology, topics, themes, images, story; way of working with structure

Session 2

Narrative - how to find the story; how to structure a narrative arc; plotting your life story

NB: this course content outline is a guide, and is subject to change without notice.

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Patti Miller is the author of nine books, three of which are writing texts: Writing Your Life;...



Come to one of the world's great literary cities and study creative writing at Faber Academy's home in historic Bloomsbury. Our London courses take place at Faber and Faber's offices.

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