How to write a memoir
Explore shame, vulnerability, and writing for catharsis on our 12-week memoir writing course

Are you thinking about writing your life story? Or using personal experiences to talk about universal themes? Sometimes, writing about real experiences can be a vulnerable process, especially when addressing topics such as love, death, sex, the body, or money.

Our online memoir writing course, tutored by Costa Prize-winning novelist and memoirist Monique Roffey, offers a clear 12-week structure for planning, writing, and editing your memoir. By the end of the course, you will understand the ethics of writing from and about your own life and feel confident and comfortable with the notion of vulnerability.

In the introduction to her course, Monique says:

Shame and taboo (sex, death, love, the body, money, etc.) is the first thing you will encounter when you face writing your story. The aim of this course explore these themes in our own lives in a relaxed and supportive environment. As will be mentioned in the first module, James Pennbaker, psychologist of University of Texas, observed a very marked difference in people’s physical health, mental health and sleep habits when spending time to write about traumatic experiences. Own your story and you will feel liberated. Own your story and no one can shame you: it’s all true. Here I am.

Over six modules, the Start Writing a Memoir course covers the basics and offers insight and encouragement gleaned from years of Monique Roffey’s person journey writing her memoir as well as the scores of memories she has read since. These six modules cover why you might want to write your story, shame and vulnerability, point of view and what stops us all from writing our true life stories.

Using extracts and exercises, each module will build on the next, and you’ll discuss what memoirs can look like, tone, forms and knowing when you are ready to write. The course is a beginner’s tool box of ideas. Find out more about the course format, the Zoom schedule and the modules →

About the tutor

Monique RoffeyMonique Roffey is a writer, lecturer and activist and has been writing for over twenty years. In this time, she’s published seven books (a memoir and six novels), some short fiction, many essays and some literary journalism. Some of her books have been awarded prizes, or been nominated for prizes, such as, the Costa Fiction Award, 2020, and the Costa Book of the Year, 2020, for The Mermaid of Black Conch; which was also short-listed for the Rathbones Folio Award, 2021, the Goldsmiths Prize, 2020 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, 2021.

‘Monique was a wonderfully inspiring and supportive tutor!’

Hear from a previous student

Fiona Gell, author of Spring Tides, says:

‘I was so lucky to be able to do Monique Roffey’s brilliant memoir course as I was writing my ocean conservation memoir Spring Tides, published in 2022. Monique was a wonderfully inspiring and supportive tutor, the course content was excellent and the exercises built my confidence in writing from a personal perspective. The format of the course really suited me, with feedback from the tutor on six pieces of writing, plenty of very high-quality online content, a horizon-expanding reading list and face to face sessions to meet the tutor and other students online. It was flexible enough to fit around a busy life but with a very structured programme of deadlines for the exercises that really worked for me. Monique’s course made a huge difference to my experience of finishing and publishing my memoir and I would recommend it to anyone writing a memoir or thinking about doing it.’

Book your place now →

If you have any questions, you can get in touch by emailing the team at [email protected].

Our online creative writing courses are designed in partnership with the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA. View all of our courses here →

UEA University of East Anglia

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