Life Writing and Writing Life Short Course
Life Writing and Writing Life is a course designed for people who want to start on or continue their path towards writing Narrative Non-Fiction. Also known as ‘Creative Non-fiction’, Narrative Non-fiction is a form of non-fiction that uses techniques more associated with fiction such as dialogue, description and characterisation to engage with readers.
You will look at writers like Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, Annie Dillard, Denis Johnson, Rebecca Solnit, Helen McDonald, Geoff Dyer and Lester Bangs who have all used their lives in their writing and their writing in their lives. Students will try their hand at writing different genres of Narrative Non-Fiction such as personal essays and memoirs, profiles and interviews, nature and travel writing, idea-based essays, literary journalism, blogging and any other forms of prose that use real-life as its springboard. The only necessity is that all pieces of writing for this class must contain some element of truth.
This will be a workshop-based class and there will be homework. Students do not have to purchase books or materials for this class as the tutor will be providing handouts. Students need to show up with a pen, paper and a willingness to mine their lives and minds for stories and an eagerness to share their work.
- Come to grips with the basic techniques of ‘good’ writing.
- Become comfortable with reading aloud.
- Become better able to take and to give criticism.
- Learn to think about structure
- Take your experiences and things you have observed to use as material for pieces of writing
Who should take this course?
This course is aimed at people who have memoirs bursting to get onto the page and for people who want to turn their travels into stories and for those who are curious about how life and writing can merge in unexpected ways.
Entry requirements: A willingness to explore the craft of writing and a very good command of the English language.
Level: All levels
Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older
Joanna Pocock graduated with distinction from the Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her short story collection "Blue Suburban Skies" won the Peters, Fraser & Dunlop award for the best manuscript to come out of a Masters degree in the UK. Her short stories have won prizes and been anthologised in 'Love on the Road' (Malinki Press) and 'Good Reads' (Hearst Publishing). Her non-fiction has appeared in a variety of publications in the US and the UK, such as The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Independent, Good Housekeeping, Orion Magazine, Dark Mountain, Distinctly Montana, Mslexia, Litro, The Tahoma Literary Review and 3:AM, among others. She has been teaching creative writing at Central Saint Martins for over fifteen years and has taught Genre Fiction at Bath Spa University and Life Writing at Roehampton University, where some of her students have gone on to win substantial international awards. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Barry Lopez Narrative Non-Fiction Award and in 2018 she won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize. Her book-length essay ‘Surrender’ is scheduled to be published in 2019 by Fitzcarraldo. She has lived in Canada, the US and the UK and brings a global perspective to her writing and teaching.
Please bring with you to the first session:
Pencil or pen and paper
Some recommended books:
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
Seek by Denis Johnson
Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer
This Writing Life by Annie Dillard
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald