Advanced Memoir

Barbara Brooks

6 x Saturdays: 22, 29 February; 7, 21, 28 March; 4 April 2020, 10am-1pm

Full Price: $660

Member: $460

Conc Member: $395

‘What actually happened is only raw material,’ memoirist Vivien Gornick says, ‘what the writer makes of what happened is all that matters.’

This practical course is for writers who have a memoir project underway, and perhaps have attended a memoir writing course. We’ll begin with presentations on aspects of the writing craft and the writing process. Topics will include finding and shaping the story, the narrator’s voice, place and people, getting the language right, using reflection and taking the journey in time. Readings include extracts from memoir and essays by Helen Garner, Vicki Laveau-Harvie, Beth Yahp and John McPhee.

We’ll focus equally on your writing, with in-class exercises and guided discussion, and thoughtful analysis of literary texts. Tutor Barbara Brooks will help participants understand how to write memoir by looking at ways to work with imagination and innovation, and how to use the techniques of fiction to tell engaging life stories.

Week by Week Course Breakdown

Week 1: Understanding and sustaining the writing process

Week 2: Putting memories in place – locating and grounding your story

Week 3: When the language is right, the feeling and the thought will be right

Week 4: What’s the story? Finding and shaping the story

Week 5: Who’s telling the story? Finding your voice and using other voices

Week 6: Making the memoir journey – moving around in time and taking the reader with you

Expected Learning Outcomes

1.Participants will complete a short piece of memoir writing.
2. Participants will learn how to locate memories in time and place and create scenes.
3. Participants will learn how discussion of their own and other’s work will help them gain a better understanding of their own work.

Participant Requirements

Participants should have a memoir writing project under way.  Please bring pen and paper.

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