Writing the Memoir  Short Courses

Course Information

Start DateStart TimeDurationCostCourse CodeApply
Saturday 11 November 2017 10am - 4pm One-day workshop £130.00 CS1225 Apply Now
Saturday 3 March 2018 10am - 4pm One-day workshop £130.00 CS1225 Apply Now
Saturday 23 June 2018 10am - 4pm One-day workshop £130.00 CS1225 Apply Now

Course Content

If you have a true story to tell and have been wondering how to start writing about it, this introduction to memoir writing workshop is for you. You will be introduced to a few essential ideas and questions you must consider before starting to write a memoir.

Topics Covered

The day will take the form of two, three hour workshops. In this time there will be presentations, handouts, discussions and some writing exercises. We will be examining one or two key ideas on how to tackle writing about the truth. You will have the chance to read from your work and discuss your ideas in a safe peer group.

Morning workshop

  • The five things that make a good memoir
  • Virginia Woolf’s ideas around Moments of Non-Being vs. Moments of Being
  • The difference between autobiography, autobiographical fiction and memoir
  • A chance to excavate your memoir

Afternoon workshop

  • Telling the Truth
  • The problems of memory and subjectivity
  • Tackling taboo material
  • The Reflective Voice – sharing your story/humanity, the subject of wisdom and what you have to pass on.

Please bring a photograph of your younger self to write from.

Why choose the Memoir Writing short course?

Our writing the memoir one-day workshop will give students a firm grounding in key aspects of writing a memoir before embarking on a memoir of their own.

Taught from our Central London campus on a Saturday, the workshop is easily accessible and fits around most schedules.

Tutor Info

Monique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born writer. Her latest novel House of Ashes was shortlisted for the COSTA Award 2015 as well as the OCM BOCAS Award 2015. Archipelago, a novel about a voyage from Port of Spain to the Galapagos, won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Orion Award 2014. In 2010, her novel The White Woman on the Green Bicycle was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Encore Award. Her erotic memoir With the Kisses of his Mouth caused controversy and critical acclaim in 2011.


The workshop is most suitable for those new to memoir writing. More experienced writers are also welcome, though should be aware this is an introductory course.

Bring paper and pen and expect to take notes and bring ideas and questions too.

English Requirements

The course would best suit writers fluent in English.

What will I learn?

Students will leave with a firm grounding in key aspects of writing a memoir and what they will need to think about before embarking on a memoir of their own.

Areas covered will include:

  • What makes a good memoir and why write one
  • How to handle telling the truth in a memoir, the problem of subjectivity and taboo material
  • When you are ready to start writing a memoir
  • How to capture the right tone
  • The importance of the reflective voice and resonance
  • How to getting started with fragments and sketches

Teaching and Assessment

A one-day, seminar-style workshop. Written exercises in class. Q&As with the tutor throughout.

Recommended Reading

Scene, Summary and Musing, Judith Barrington.

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, Judith Barrington

What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness, Candia McWilliam

With the Kisses of his Mouth, Monique Roffey

Moments of Being, Autobiographical Writings, Virginia Woolf, Edited by: Jeanne Schulkind and with an introduction by Hermione Lee.

Patient, Ben Watt

Sketch of the Past, Virginia Woolf

Leads To...

The memoir writing workshop would be great preparation for either Narrative Non-fiction or Fact-Based Storytelling.

Application Deadline: