Kickstart Your Memoir

w/ Dr Lee Kofman

Have you always wanted to write a memoir, but haven’t been sure where to start? This 8-week course is designed to kickstart your narrative momentum, so that you can really get stuck into the memoir you have been dreaming of writing.

6.30 – 8.30 pm AEST, Thursdays, 2 May – 20 June 2024

Normally $816/ $ 693.60 alumni

Writing your life story can be an incredibly powerful and moving journey for an aspiring writer to go on. We want to make sure you have help along the way, finding a space where you can generate new ideas and map out a plan for getting words on the page.

Working with acclaimed memoirist and widely-respected writing tutor, Dr Lee Kofman, you will look at successful examples of the genre. You’ll learn how to shape life stories into gripping narratives, and yourselves and the people in your lives into compelling characters, with a focus on where to begin – parsing through research, diaries and remembered events, to start forming initial chapters.

Each weekly session will have a different focus, and will include both theory and writing exercises to assist you in developing your skills – both practical and critical – in writing your memoir.

Collaborating with Dr Lee Kofman and your fellow students, you will bring work into the classroom to share and develop within the group.

It’s not all about beginnings: this course will finish with a look towards the future, thinking about practical strategies to keep you going on with your manuscript.

By the end of the course you will have:

  • Gained an understanding of the important elements and techniques of memoir writing;
  • Bolstered your abilities and interest in writing nonfiction in a friendly environment;
  • Received constructive feedback on your writing, so that you can measure your improvement.

Your course includes:

  • A complimentary copy of a recent A&U publication
  • On completion of the course, alumni discounts on future Faber Writing Academy courses and books from the Allen & Unwin website.

Writers you'll be working with:

Lee Kofman

Dr Lee Kofman is a Russian-born, Israeli-Australian author of three fiction books and two memoirs, including Imperfect (Affirm Press, 2019), which was shortlisted for the Nib Literary Award, and The Dangerous Bride (Melbourne University Press, 2014), co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (Ventura Press, 2016) and editor of Split (Ventura Press, 2019), which was longlisted for the…

Course outline

This course consists of eight two-hour evening classes, Thursdays, 6.30 – 8.30pm AEST

Session 1: Thursday 2 May: Finding your story.
We’ll learn how to ‘slice’ our complex, multifaceted lives in order to find the focus for our memoir, and how to get started on exploring our theme.

Session 2: Thursday 9 May: Developing writer’s voice.
We’ll work on helping you to develop or hone your unique voice, and to finetune it so that it fits the particular story you wish to tell.

Session 3: Thursday 16 May: Turning yourself and others into compelling characters.
You may know yourself and the people in your life well, but how do you make yourself and others known, and interesting, to readers who never met you? This is what we’ll learn here.

Session 4: Thursday 23 May: Shaping your story.
This week we’ll learn about some common structures of memoir and various strategies to help you find the shape that fits your story best.

Session 5: Thursday 30 May: Shaping your opening pages.
Today’s readers have little patience and a writer’s task is to capture their attention as well as to declare the story’s stakes from the very start of their memoir. We’ll learn strategies about how to do this and you’ll practice writing your own beginnings.

Session 6: Thursday 6 June: ‘Real time’ writing.
What is a strong scene? What are the best ways to approach descriptions of action and dialogue, especially considering that our memories are fickle and often only partial? This week we’ll tackle the ethics and craft of writing ‘real time’ in memoir.

Session 7: Thursday 13 June: Vivid writing.
One of the paradoxes of writing is that the more specific it is the more universal it is in its appeal. We’ll learn how to be specific in our descriptive prose without being tedious, and how to use specificity to convey the emotional truth of our story and move our readers.

Session 8: Thursday 20 June: Sustainable Work Practices.
Writing a memoir can take years. This week we’ll learn strategies that will help you to sustain your motivation, convince your muses to visit more often and to complete your work as efficiently as possible.

Praise for this course

“I have definitely gained more skill and insight into memoir writing. I have the confidence to continue with my writing and have found like minded people to continue writing with.”

“Was original, replete with valuable information, inspiring and stimulating.”

“A wealth of information on, and inspiration for, writing memoir. We were guided and supported in our own writing at all times and feedback was individualised and extremely helpful. Highly engaging and inspirational.”

“Outstanding, positive and energetic. Lee is a delightful, engaging and rigorous teacher who makes everything interesting!”

“Lee Kofman is the beating heart of this course. She is an inspirational teacher. After each workshop I found myself excited about writing.”

How to Book

Purchase Includes 10% tax

To secure your place in Kickstart Your Memoir, you can pay either the deposit or the full course fee.

If you pay the deposit only, two further payments will be required, the first by 17 May and the second by 8 June 2024. Payment instructions will be sent closer to the time.