Have you ever thought your own life experience or someone else’s (a family member’s, perhaps) might make good reading?
Have you ever said about a life experience – yours or someone else’s – ‘honestly, you couldn’t make it up’?
On this weekend course, you will consider the raw material life delivers us for our writing, exploring how is best to organise and shape this raw material to make it readable. You will apply literary techniques that will help render our lived experience interesting and exciting for a reader. You will also consider what ethical issues arise when writing from life.
Together with the tutor and your peers, you will read and discuss extracts from texts others have produced about their lives, including work by authors such as Rachel Cusk, Audre Lorde, Marcel Proust, James Baldwin and Karl Ove Knausgaard.
Learn to work with objects and archive materials such as diaries and letters, as well as paying attention to the writer’s body, memory and imagination.
There will be opportunities for in-session writing and opportunities to share your work and get feedback from the tutor and your fellow writers.
By the end of this course you will have a clear understanding of what aspects of your story are of the most interest to potential readers and you will appreciate what skills and techniques are required to bring your story to life on the page.
Please feel free to bring a project you have already begun working on or arrive with a blank page – this course is suitable for experienced writers, as well as those who have never set pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
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.
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.
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)
Hannah Vincent is a novelist, short story writer and award-winning playwright. Her first novel Alarm Girl was published in 2014. She wrote her second while carrying out PhD research at the University of Sussex in autobiographic practice. The Weaning was published in 2018. Hannah’s debut collection of short stories She-Clown and Other Stories was published in 2020. Hannah teaches creative writing on The Open University’s MA programme and she has taught life writing for New Writing South and Charleston. She is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Brighton.