Advanced autobiographical writing

Course Dates: 27/09/19 - 06/12/19
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Nick Barlay

A supportive workshop for more experienced writers of autobiography (including fictionalised work or poetry). Close attention to your work, exploration of techniques and discussion of relevant issues. Suitable for students who have an ongoing project and may have attended autobiographical writing courses.


What is the course about?

The skills of autobiographical writing, including how to focus and craft your work. Insight into the sources of powerful autobiographical writing. Developing confidence in giving constructive criticism, and in using it to revise or edit your work.

The Tutor: Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and one book of non-fiction. He has written award-winning radio plays, short stories and wide-ranging journalism. He has previously taught fiction, life writing and Guardian Masterclasses on writing family history.

Build reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

What will we cover?

Depending on the participants’ interests the course will include some or all of the following:
- further developing your authorial voice.
- exploring different sources of autobiographical writing eg dreams, fantasies and lateral approaches to self-
knowledge as well as conscious experience, thought and memory
- further developing the themes in your writing.
- developing your use of fictional techniques to dramatise and structure your writing into something which will fully engage the reader
- use of memorabilia (eg photos, diaries, family, and official records) where appropriate
- issues such as self-exposure, betrayal, and confidence.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- write autobiographically-based work more effectively and confidently
- identify and appreciate some of the sources and issues around writing autobiographically
- provide sensitive, constructive criticism of others work
- evaluate, revise and edit your own work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is an advanced workshop for writers fluent in spoken and written English who have an ongoing project of autobiographical writing. You should be a fairly experienced writer. Students who have completed a previous autobiographical writing course should contact the Writing Department to be approved. New students should submit a page of their current project to [email protected] This will be reviewed by the course tutor to check your suitability for the advanced course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught through a mix of pair work, group work, tutor-led discussion, writing exercises, reading exercises and workshop.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring writing materials - paper, pens, tablets or laptop as appropriate to your learning needs. You may also need to bring copies of your writing for workshop.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for Build writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on and Twitter.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Excellent workshopping class
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 03/07/2019)
The course enabled me to improve my writing ability and to be exposed to the work of some very gifted writers in the class as well as to the talents of the tutor.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 18/06/2019)
Course Rating
Review by Frances / (Posted on 18/06/2019)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Check your level

Course Code: HW533

Please choose a course date 

Fri, day, 27 Sep - 06 Dec '19

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £219.00
Senior fee: £219.00
Concession: £88.00

Before booking on this course, please register or log in to your account to complete a short online assessment. We need you to do this to check that this course is the right level for you.
Why do I need an advice session?

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.