Memoir and Life Writing



10.30-11.30am: Introduction to life writing and memoir; a history of the genre; what makes it different from autobiography; the narrative freedoms it affords. Illustrated with extracts.

11.30-12pm: Writing exercise: I Remember

Short break

12.05-1pm: Telling a story: the skills required of the life writer, from structure to setting

1pm – 1.45pm: Lunch

1.45pm-3.30: Point of View: Self, Point of View and Voice

A consideration of self and identity, how your choice of POV determines the tenor and shape of your memoir, and the process of finding your voice. Illustrated with extracts.


10.30am 11.15am: Where to begin: a consideration of time, historical perspective and the relationship between past and present. Illustrated with extracts.

11.15 – 12pm: Writing exercise: Memory word bank.

A consideration of openings and how to start your own memoir.

12pm: short break

12.05 – 1pm: Fact and fiction: a consideration of the relationship between memory and fiction in life writing and the use of source material.

1pm-1.45pm: Lunch

1.45pm – 2.30pm: A consideration of the ethics of memoir and life writing; the responsibilities of the author; and the nature of truth. Illustrated with extracts.

2.30pm – 3.30pm: The role of dialogue in memoir and how to ‘remember’ it; a writing exercise using dialogue; the ten rules of life writing


For participants to take away: a reading list plus a list of life writing tips and recommended writing exercises to keep you writing