Advanced autobiographical writing

Course Dates: 30/04/19 - 02/07/19
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Nick Barlay

This workshop for experienced writers of autobiographical prose or poetry will provide you with support and in-depth feedback on your work. It is suitable for students who have an ongoing project.

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Advanced autobiographical writing


What is the course about?

This course offers an opportunity to develop your autobiographical writing in a supportive environment. You'll receive in-depth feedback on your work and explore in detail relevant techniques and issues. Suitable for experienced writers who have an ongoing project, including fiction or poetry inspired by autobiography.

The Tutor: Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and one book of non-fiction. He has written award-winning radio plays, short stories and wide-ranging journalism. He has previously taught fiction, life writing and Guardian Masterclasses on writing family history.

City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

What will we cover?

- How to develop and improve your autobiographical writing
- How to use specific techniques in your autobiographical writing
- How to deal with personal issues in relation to your autobiographical writing
- How to give and use constructive criticism
- How to analyse your own work from a critical perspective.

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

- Show improvement in your autobiographical writing
- Evaluate, revise and edit your work
- Decide whether or not to seek publication.

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

This course is an advanced workshop for writers fluent in spoken and written English who have an ongoing project of autobiographical writing. You should be a fairly experienced writer. Students who have completed a previous autobiographical writing course should contact the Writing Department to be approved. New students should submit a page of their current project to This will be reviewed by the course tutor to check your suitability for the advanced course.

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

Group discussons and presentations by the tutor. You'll be expected to write a certain amount outside the class, depending on your project. Every student will have the opportunity to receive feedback on their work from the tutor and the group.

Each week two students will be scheduled to share their work for half an hour each. The rest of the session will consist of an open reading, for students to read and discuss shorter pieces of work, and sometimes teaching and discussion on a particular topic. If students do not want to read their work aloud, other arrangements can be made for sharing it.

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.

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

You should bring a pen/pencil and paper. On certain weeks, you'll need to bring copies of the work you want to share with the group. These will be returned to you at the end of the session.

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

All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Visit for more details or if you're interested in reading your work. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology. Learn more at For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Check your level

Course Code: HW049

Tue, day, 30 Apr - 02 Jul '19

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Full fee: £189.00
Senior fee: £189.00
Concession: £76.00

Before booking on this course, please register or log in to your account to complete a short online assessment. We need you to do this to check that this course is the right level for you.
Why do I need an advice session?

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.