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Memoir Writing Workshop

Tutor: Umi Sinha
Location: Evolution Arts, 2 Sillwood Terrace, Brighton BN1 2LR
Next date: Saturday workshop, 01 April 2017

What is the difference between a memoir and an autobiography?

An autobiography covers a whole life; it can be in one volume, or several, like the autobiographies by Maya Angelou, Diana Athill, or Dirk Bogarde, which cover all aspects of their life, childhood, family and professional. A memoir covers just one episode, journey, or aspect of a life.

An autobiography, like a biography, is usually only of general interest if the subject is a celebrity, but a memoir can be of interest even if the person isn’t well known, because it is the subject matter that engages, whether it’s a memoir about loss, like Joan Didion’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking” or Helen MacDonald’s “H is for Hawk”, or about a physical or spiritual journey, like Peter Matthiessen’s “The Snow Leopard” or Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”. Or it might be the story of a particular relationship, with a parent, like Edmund Goss’s “Father and Son”, or with a child, or a lover - a story of coping, abuse, entanglement or healing.  In a memoir it isn’t so much the writer as their experience that engages the reader.

In this relaxed and supportive workshop we will look at extracts from successful memoirs to identify different approaches to and techniques of memoir writing, and use writing exercises to start to apply what we learn to our own stories. There will also be time for questions and discussion.

If you have always wanted to write a memoir but didn't know where to start, this workshop 
will set you on the path.

 

Disclaimer - please read before booking

Please note that when working with autobiographical material memories that are unpleasant or traumatic may surface. You are free to refuse to share anything or follow any instructions that you are uncomfortable with. Please be aware that you need to be responsible for your own welfare. 

Testimonials

Thoughtful, supportive, inspiring - very well led by Umi.  Umi created a safe context for the group, then set us some really challenging activities - lots to think about.  Martha

Umi gave us plenty of practice and a safe place to share and explore.  The group was particularly interesting and we all enjoyed the experience.  Angela

Stimulated writing.  Improved knowldge and technique. Good to meet others with similar interests - sociable.  Very interesting.  Anne

I liked the chance for interaction/ exercises/ clear instruction from Umi/ fun environment/ chance to mix and meet all participants.  Stephen

The chance to practice writing spontaneously about different aspects of memoir writing and experimenting with new ideas as well as sharing with interesting co-writers.  Susan

Friendly atmosphere, good pace and interesting exercises to work on.  Knowledgable teacher with good skills.  Vanessa

Lots of good exercises - Umi kept a good check on digression.  Liked the fairytale exercise to examine theme - and the family story exercise.  New angles on old material - good. Emma

Well paced - with exercises, flexibility, sharing and learnt from examples of published writers.  Lucinda

Unexpected things happened, fun, motivating, confusing for me as did not know that I am good at writing xx Julia

I liked how it makes you think about the smaller and important details of my life and to make it possible to write it all down.  Sandra

Encouraged my creativity which I haven't done for many years.  Non-threatening environment.  Positive, interesting & made me think.  Katarina

Umi was warm, dynamic and good at directing the group.  Anon

Lots of stimulating exercises and discussion.  Gave me lots of ideas on how to get started with writing a memoir.  June

I liked all of the workshop. Particularly the exercises, group interaction, discussion and its absolute practical nature.  Terrific and inspirational! Hilary

Stimulating, lovely people, excellent tutor, felt safe environment to explore.  Avril

About the tutor

Umi Sinha taught both autobiography and fiction writing on the Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex for ten years and is now Lecturer in Creative Writing at Brighton University. She has had short stories published in magazines and anthologies and has written children’s historical and mythological comic books. Her novel BELONGING was published by Myriad Editions in September 2015 and was shortlisted for The Author's Club Best First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Historical Writers' Association Debut Crown Award. She also runs her own writing classes and a mentoring service for writers.


For more information www.writingclinic.co.uk

taught both autobiography and fiction writing on the Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex for ten years and is now Lecturer in Creative Writing at Brighton University. She has had short stories published in magazines and anthologies and has written children’s historical and mythological comic books. Her novel BELONGING was published by Myriad Editions in September 2015 and was shortlisted for The Author's Club Best First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Historical Writers' Association Debut Crown Award. She also runs her own writing classes and a mentoring service for writers.


For more information www.writingclinic.co.uk