Writing the family
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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?
Students on this course will be given the opportunity to experiment with short, focused writing exercises on the theme of family. Students will be encouraged to share personal stories and will receive constructive feedback from other participants and the tutor. Model examples of writing about the family will be discussed alongside the emotional, psychological and technical issues of turning research into narrative. Issues such as who to focus on, how much detail to include, or whether fiction would work better than non-fiction will also be explored.
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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The challenges of writing a family story.
- The required ingredients for a strong story about the family.
- How to make your story appealing to a reader.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand the ingredients of a strong family story.
- Draft family stories that will appeal to readers.
- Be able to apply constructive feedback to your stories.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course. Students will need to be able to write fluently in English and have some ideas about which family stories they might want to focus on in their writing.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught through a mix of text analysis, tutor instruction, pair and group work, in-class writing exercises and constructive workshopping.
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 writing materials - pens, paper tablet or laptop as suits your learning needs.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a range of biographical and autobiographical writing courses. For further information, please browse the writing section of our website.
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.
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.
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.