This course will take place online.
Autobiography and memoir is about lived experience. This can be cathartic or it can be exploratory, bringing up all kinds of feelings about personal events and experiences, often for the first time. This course will allow participants to explore and to share their life stories, to understand the writing process, and to experiment in a constructive atmosphere to help develop their projects.
How will the course be taught?
The course will be taught with a mixture of tutor-led discussion, examples, short practical writing exercises for reading and sharing in class, and occasional short writing exercises to be done at home for reading out during the next class
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone with an interest in writing from life, writing about their experiences or their memories, or their personal and family histories.
What can I expect?
The six sessions will cover the planned project’s overview, possible openings and voice, writing about people, about places or ‘worlds’, dialogue and, finally, structure and organisation. Each week there will be an introduction, one or two examples, use of break out rooms, and readings of short extracts of work-in-progress from participants.
Joining via Zoom
This course or event will be held via Zoom. You need a computer/laptop or mobile phone to access the Zoom website, and a reliable internet connection. For further information on how to join a Zoom meeting, you can watch the joining video here.
You will need a computer or other device to connect with Zoom and a notebook/paper and pen/pencil, or digital equivalent.
We provide a number of funded bursaries to people who find it hard to pay the full or concessionary rates. Find out more information on how to apply.
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You will learn
By the end of this course, you will have:
- A greater awareness of the forms life writing can take eg memoir, family history
- An understanding of various approaches to writing and style
- The ability to receive and give constructive criticism
- How to progress the intended life writing project.
Meet the Tutor
Nick Barlay is the author of four widely acclaimed novels, including Hooky Gear, which was mentioned among Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003.
He was born in London to Hungarian Jewish refugee parents, and his first non-fiction book, Scattered Ghosts, explores the story of his family over two centuries. It was longlisted for the Wingate Prize 2015.
He has also written short stories, award-winning radio plays and wide-ranging journalism, including a long-running series about London for the Times.
He regularly teaches fiction and life writing, as well as Guardian Masterclasses on writing a family history.
- Introduction to tutor and participants
- A sense of different life writing possibilities
- A sense of individual projects and the direction they could take (+ short homework on openings)
- Beginnings: where to begin? What are the options?
- Reading and sharing prepared paragraphs
- Critical feedback on ‘"voice" and what this means. (+ short homework on people)
- People: a focus on representing the self and others
- What brings a real "character" to life on the page? (+ short homework on place)
- Place: a focus on representing and describing places
- How to describe places, descriptive techniques, and understanding the dramatic potential of the "world" of the life story
- Shaping and structuring: how to think about creating a plan or structure
- Different possibilities with in-class exercises on, for example, turning points/mid-points
- The way forward: bringing together all the elements of previous classes to create a range of focal points for participants to develop their own work
- Discussion, advice, questions
Need to Know
- 19:00 - 21:00
- £119/£89 concession
- Nick Barlay
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code