Autobiographical writing: getting started

Course Dates: 21/07/20 - 30/07/20
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

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.


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.

What will we cover?

- Your voice and narrative voice
- Structure and Time Line
- 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, ie 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.

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.


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Interesting group of people who met 6 times over 2 weeks and worked hard - engaging well with the task and expertly guided by the tutor. My writing has certainly been kickstarted. Thank you to everyone.
Course Rating
Review by Cait / (Posted on 03/08/2018)
Tutor Biographies
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.

Book your place

Course Code: HW138

Tue+Thu, eve, 21 Jul - 30 Jul '20

Duration: 4 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £129.00
Concession: £52.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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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.