This course will take place online, for a reduced rate of Full £95 / Conc. £71
Life writing encompasses memoir, autobiography, family history, and other forms, of writing. For some, it can be cathartic. For others, it’s the opposite, bringing up all kinds of feelings about personal events and experiences, often for the first time.
Join this course to explore and share your life stories, to understand the writing process, and to experiment in a constructive atmosphere to help develop your projects.
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.
Will I need any equipment or materials?
This course 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 pen and paper to take notes, or to use your computer/laptop.
Are there any follow-on courses I can take?
Bishopsgate Institute runs a range of creative writing classes, including classes in playwriting, creative non-fiction, and short story writing.
Will I be assessed?
There is no formal assessment for courses at Bishopsgate Institute. However, to monitor your learning and progress, tutors will assess your participation in classroom activities.
You will learn
By the end of this course, you will have:
- Greater awareness of the forms life writing can take e.g. memoir, family history
- An understanding of various approaches to writing and style
- The ability to receive and give constructive criticism
- An understanding of 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 (and a short homework on openings)
Where to begin? What are the options? Reading and sharing prepared paragraphs; critical feedback on "voice" and what this means (and a short homework on people)
A focus on representing the self and others. What brings a real "character" to life on the page? (and a short homework on 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
- £95/£71 conc.
- Bishopsgate Institute
- Nick Barlay
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code