Start Your Memoir Start Your Memoir Start Your Memoir

Start Your Memoir

Join celebrated memoirist and teacher Patti Miller to break down the barriers to beginning your memoir.


Starting out

What do these levels mean?




1-5 days
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Monday–Friday, 10:00–16:00

Places available


9 in stock


Throw yourself into your story

This five-day intensive course will set you on the journey of writing your memoir or autobiography. In a creative and supportive environment, it offers ways of accessing memories and recognising their inherent shape, of finding your writing voice, of bringing the details to life, of creating the lived reality of your experience on the page and finding its structure.

You will also explore the difficulties of truth-telling, including the issues of the borderlands with fiction and the problem of self-indulgence. There will be some readings and discussions and lots of writing and workshopping, with individual comment on your work. It is skills-based and will encourage and extend both beginners and more experienced writers. The course will be based on the text Writing True Stories by Patti Miller, from Routledge.

Is this the right course for me?

Whether you're looking to write about your own life or someone else's, this course will explore the many possibilities the genre has to offer. You don't need to have taken any courses before but the course is also not designed for complete beginners and is best suited to students who have already experimented with some form of writing.

    This course takes place Monday to Friday at Faber's offices in Hatton Garden. Teaching time will run from 10:00 until 14:00 each day, followed by a break for lunch. Your classroom will then be available until 16:00 each day for writing time.

Course Programme

Session 1

Monday 9 September, 10:00–16:00

Beginning ...

Session 2

10 September, 10:00–16:00

Observation, showing and telling...

Session 3

11 September, 10:00–16:00

Voice and truth...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Start Your Memoir

Session 1

Monday 9 September, 10:00–16:00


What and why do you want to write. How to get started. Overcoming procrastination and making time. Openings – the many ways to invite your reader in.

The value of memory based writing. How to access memory. Other sources – research and interview. How to incorporate research material.

Session 2

10 September, 10:00–16:00

Observation, showing and telling

Observation based writing. How to write the detail, creating the lived texture of experience. How to access the senses.

The difference between showing and telling. How to recreate the three-dimensional feel of life.

Session 3

11 September, 10:00–16:00

Voice and truth

Voice – who is writing this book? Changing perspective. Closeness and distance in Voice.

The difficulties of truth-telling. Surviving truth-telling.

Session 4

12 September, 10:00–16:00

Invention and self-indulgence

Borderlands of fiction. Can you ‘invent’ anything in memoir?

Self Indulgence – all about me. Saving memoir from self-indulgence. How to widen the context.

Session 5

13 September, 10:00–16:00

Structure and narrative

How to structure. Organic structure emerging from material. Chronology, topics, themes, images, story. A way of working with structure

Narrative – how to find the story. How to structure a narrative arc. Plotting your life story.



Patti Miller

Patti Miller is the author of ten books, three of which are writing texts: Writing Your Life; The Memoir Book and Writing True Stories...

More About This Tutor
Patti Miller


The Bindery

51 Hatton Garden

London EC1N 8HN

How to get here

Faber’s office, The Bindery, is well connected by public transport, with Farringdon Station just five minutes’ walk away, and stops for several bus routes in the area too. If you’re coming from outside of London, the office is a short bus or taxi journey from Kings Cross, Euston and St Pancras stations.

Browse the Reading Room

From author interviews and writing tips to creative writing exercises and reading lists, we've got everything you need to get started – and to keep going.

For more information, message us or call 0207 927 3827