Memoir writing with Ruth Brandt

Ref: SWE32996

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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 that 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 that you have visited or lived and how to focus your life story, so that 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 you will leave with increased writing skills and with the confidence to write more.

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

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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 until 9pm, 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)

General Information


Ruth Brandt portrait

Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt’s short stories and flash fiction have been widely published. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Write Well Award and Best Small Fictions Award. Her short story collection No One has any Intention of Building a Wall will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in 2021.


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

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