Writing Your Own Memoir

138 TUTOR: Rosie Jackson (BA Hons Class 1 ENglish and Comp Lit DPhil York)

In the words of T.S. Eliot, 'We had the experience, but missed the meaning.' Writing your own story is a wonderfully healing and fulfilling process. Whether it is for your family, publication or just for yourself, a memoir can help make sense of your experience and provide an opportunity to reflect on the deeper meaning of your life. On this safe, supportive course, you will learn ways to make your memoir the best it can be, reflecting on audience, purpose and inspiration. You will study issues of structure, shape, voice and tense, practise dialogue and humour, consider spiritual and ethical issues and look at some contemporary memoirs.

2 PM
PM course

Course Notes

Best memoir writing guides:

Judith Barrington Writing the Memoir

Mary Karr The Art of Memoir

Sally Cline (ed) The Arvon Book of Life Writing

Judy Reeves A Writer's Book of Days (Exercises)

Some recommended memoirs:

Jeanette Winterson Why Be Happy When you could be Normal?

Rosie Jackson The Glass Mother

Sheila Kohler Once We Were Sisters

Amy Liptrot The Outrun

Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray, Love

Mary Karr The Liars' Club

Karl Ove Knausgård My Struggle (6 vols)

Claire Tomalin A Life of My Own

Blake Morrison And When Did you Last see your Father?

Nigel Slater Toast

Lorna Sage Bad Blood

Gretel Ehrlich A Match to the Heart

Hilary Mantel Giving up the Ghost

Irina Tweedie The Chasm of Fire

Germaine Greer Daddy I hardly knew you

Virginia Woolf The Diary of Virginia Woolf

Etty Hillesum An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-3

Roger Deakin Notes from Walnut Tree Farm

Please bring paper and writing material.

Course Tutor

Rosie Jackson

Rosie Jackson

BA Hons Class 1 ENglish and Comp Lit DPhil York

About Rosie

ROSIE JACKSON lives in  Devon, where she teaches creative writing workshops and works in arts and health. She has a first-class degree from the University of Warwick, a D. Phil. from York, and has taught in many universities and educational settings, including the University of East Anglia, Nottingham Trent, Bristol UWE, Bethesda Writers' Centre Washington DC, Skyros Writers' Lab, Cortijo Romero, and the Open College of the Arts. Her poetry pamphlet What the Ground Holds (Poetry Salzburg, 2014) was followed by her first collection The Light Box (Cultured Llama, 2016). Her poetry has been published in Acumen, Ambit, Domestic Cherry, Frogmore Papers, High Window, Poetry Ireland Reiew, Poetry Salzburg Review, Scintilla, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter's House, other journals and anthologies; set for GCSE; used for a sculpture by Andrew Whittle in the grounds of a Dorchester hospital; and she has collaborated with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. With Dawn Gorman she won the Hedgehog Pamphlet competition 2019; won 1st prize in the Poetry Space competition 2019, 1st prize and the Hilly Cansdale award at Wells 2018, 2nd prize at Torbay 2018, 1st prize in the Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition 2017, 3rd prize Hippocrates Open 2017, Hilly Cansdale Award Wells 2015, 1st prize Bath 2015, 2nd prize Battered Moons 2015, 1st and 2nd prizes Berkshire Festival, 2016 and 2017, 2nd prize Havant Literary Festival, and has been widely commended at Bridport and elsewhere. She was a Hawthornden fellow 2017. Her books of prose include Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion; Frieda Lawrence; The Eye of the Buddha (fiction);Mothers Who Leave and she has won awards for her short stories. The Glass Mother: A Memoir was published by Unthank Books in 2016.


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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM