Autobiographical writing: an introduction

Course Dates: 24/07/23 - 04/08/23
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
Whether writing for self-discovery, testimony or to tell your story, learn how to get started and what's involved in autobiographical writing. Explore various resources from diaries to dreams, memories and fantasy.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00

Course Code: HW138

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Mon+Wed+Fri, eve, 24 Jul - 04 Aug '23

Duration: 6 sessions (over 2 weeks)

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or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course coaches students on how to use their life story as a source for writing. Guidance will be offered on a range of approaches to narrative voice and structure.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Your voice and narrative voice.
- Structure and timeline.
- Autobiography into fiction.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify your individual strengths as a writer.
- Critique and thereby improve your writing.
- Participate constructively in a workshop setting.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course and no particular skills are required. You will be expected to write in class and to be willing to share your writing with other class members.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Workshopping, i.e., sharing and discussing your writing.
- Discussing technical issues in the genre.
- Reading and discussing published examples of autobiographical writing.
- Outside of class you will be asked to read material provided and develop writing exercises.

All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a notebook and pen or pencil with you to class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit runs a two-term 'Autobiographical writing' course, and experienced students can progress from there to 'Advanced autobiographical writing' and receive feedback on their works-in-progress.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Paul Laffan

Paul Laffan is the author of four novels, a book of reportage and has ghosted several works of autobiography. His most recent publication: The Fabricated Christ was published in June 2019. He holds a BA in English Literature from Oxford and an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English from Florida State University in America. He taught writing and literature for six years at Florida State, and has also taught at Birkbeck, Morley College, the Mary Ward Centre and Lambeth College.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.