This four-month intensive course is for writers, or intending writers, who want to concentrate on memoir or narrative non-fiction. A practical course, based on readings, discussion and exercises, it offers the opportunity to develop several chapters under expert guidance. It will develop skills and explore the richness of the genre along with the joys, challenges and possibilities for the writer of 'true stories'.
The course will investigate how to access memory, how to create the lived texture of experience on the page, how to find a narrating position, where to find a voice, how to structure your story, how to avoid self-indulgence, how much research to include, how far to go in the borderlands between memoir and fiction—indeed all the myriad arts and skills of writing true stories.
Beginning in February 2017, students will attend 16 weekly classes on Friday mornings with a small break for Easter.
- Term 1: 3 February to 7 April (Note: There is a one week break for Easter)
- Term 2: 21 April to 26 May
The three-hour sessions are in the morning for creative alertness and focus. In addition, each person will also have a 30-minute individual session to discuss their own particular writing issues. During the course, participants will write whole chapters at least and have them workshopped in detail, with the opportunity to discuss structural issues under Patti Miller's expert guidance.
In addition, there will be the invaluable opportunity to intimately discuss the challenges of writing with inspiring authors and experts in the publishing world. Guest writers will undertake the roles of guest tutors to share the benefit of their experience. Participants will also learn how to pitch their work and the opportunity to talk to a publisher and/or agent will be offered near the end of the course.
True Stories is a practical and inspiring course for writers who are ready to commit to the process of producing a full-length work of memoir or narrative non-fiction. Apart from the writing classes and writing exercises, students will be expected to dedicate as much time as possible to writing during the week. The course is open to all levels of experience, including those starting out and those wishing to change genres, but, in all cases, a level of competence with English expression is expected and assumed. It will extend and challenge writers at every level of experience.
Patti Miller discussing her Faber Writing Academy True Stories course
Patti Miller on why her three-month True Stories course with Faber Writing Academy is so valuable to students over shorter courses
Praise for True Stories
My untamed skills have been transformed by her patient guidance. I now have the confidence and knowledge to finally finish the book I have been trying to write for the last five years. She has renewed my passion and cured my writer's block. What more can an aspiring author ask for?'
Antoinette Pacitto (2015)
Every now and then in life, if you're lucky, you come across a teacher like Patti. I cannot speak more highly of her teaching style, integrity and care. This has been a life changing course in many ways.
Kahal Gerard (2014)
Patti Miller's course introduced me to the vital elements, techniques and approaches needed to learn the craft of writing a book. The input from other writers, editors, publishers, literary critics, agents and publicists was invaluable.
Therese Spruhan (2013)
I had finished a first draft of the book and hated it. I shoved it in the drawer. When my son Nic, begged me to write about his brother Christopher I decided to give it another shot… The course was fantastic because it gave me confidence to continue. All the writers in the group were encouraging and for the first time I started to believe what I had to say was worthwhile.
Jayne Newling, author of the memoir Missing Christopher, winner of the Human Rights Literature Award (2013)
About the Course Director
Patti Miller is the author of Australia's best-selling life writing texts; Writing Your Life and The Memoir Book, as well a novel, Child, and four memoirs/narrative nonfictions; The Last One Who Remembers, Whatever the Gods Do, the award-winning The Mind of a Thief, and the recently released Ransacking Paris. She has also had numerous articles and personal essays published in magazines, literary journals and newspapers, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian and The Guardian. Patti has been teaching life writing for more than twenty years at universities and writers' centres around Australia and takes a memoir-writing group to Paris each year. She also works on manuscript development and more than forty of her writers (including five from Faber courses) have been successfully published.