Creative writing and publishing

Memoir writing with Ruth Brandt

Ref: SWE10137

Suitable for all

Join waiting list

Course full - scroll down for other

About this course

Through a series of exercises with plenty of feedback, learn how to tell your life story in a way that will make a compelling read.

Course Description

Writing about a lifetime of rich experience in a way that captures the essence of the people and places involved can be challenging. This course will look at how to tell your life story in a way that will make a compelling read.

This course will consider what the truth is in memoir writing, and use a range of techniques to help you write about your past, so events can be understood in the context of the time. It will look at how to include social history in a way that serves rather than dominates the story. You will practise the skills needed to write about people so that they appear real and unique, and you will learn how to describe places you have visited or lived, and how to focus your life story so it can be told succinctly.

Working in a supportive, encouraging environment, you will explore each of these areas through class discussions and written exercises. Regular feedback and guidance will be provided by the tutor. There will be plenty of time for independent writing in and around the inspirational setting of West Dean College and the surrounding gardens.

By the end of the course, you will have developed an understanding of how to structure and write your memoirs. You will have written and edited several pieces and leave with increased writing skills, and have the confidence to write more.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Writing materials - notebook, pen or pencil and/or laptop.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebooks and pens


Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt's short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, including Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, Bristol Short Story Prize and Litro, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has an MFA (Distinction) Creative Writing, Kingston University, won the MFA Creative Writing Prize 2017 and tutors for Surrey Adult Learning.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.