Short Course: Writing Memoir – with Katy Massey

This course will explore the liberties and limitations of writing about lived experience. We will think about how to shape personal stories and how to apply the craft of writing through characterisation, pacing, structure and tension to create compelling pieces of work. We will also consider research methods, ethical guidelines and the social contexts of our writing.

Writers will explore different approaches to memoir and autobiographical writing and learn to apply these to their own projects. Over the six meetings we will consider: the difference between the literary treatment of fiction versus real-life experience; techniques for exploring ‘truth’ and what is meant by true-life stories; the craft of writing (exploring character, structure and pacing); ethics and research techniques: who’s story is this?

The sessions will be run via a mixture of time-limited discussions and writing exercises. The content and structure will remain flexible, with each week’s activities will be informed and shaped by the concerns emerging from the group to ensure the course is useful and relevant for participants.

About Katy Massey

Are we home yet? Katy Massey’s memoir about her relationship with her mother was published in September 2020 by Jacaranda. She worked as a journalist for many years before completing a PhD on memoir and race at Newcastle University. Alongside her own work, she has guided and published numerous emerging writers and initiated her own Arts Council-funded literature projects. She has published two anthologies of memoir: Tangled Roots: True Life Stories About Mixed Race Britain, featuring 30-plus contributions, and Who are we now? a collection of first-person experiences of the 2016 Brexit referendum. She lives in East Sussex with her family and is currently writing a novel. | Twitter: @Tangledroots1 |

A limited number of bursary places are available. Contact us for more information.


4 November 2020 - 9 December 2020
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

£95 / £75 (Conc/NWS Friends)

Book Now
Emirali headshot