The Write Your Memoir Course

Price: NZ$ 1095 / £ 565 / R 7495


The Write Your Memoir Course

Reach Out to the World with Your
Personal Life Story.

Explore the writing techniques required to transform your life story into a compelling, unputdownable memoir.

Everyone has a story to tell. The Write Your Memoir Course is for anyone who wants to tell it.

On this course, you’ll craft your memoir while learning the nuts and bolts of putting together a story. Explore yourself and your history. You’ll achieve personal expression and creative growth, and leave something tangible for your family, friends and community. 

Let a published writer, a specialist in the art of memoir, guide you through the process.

The Write a Memoir Course Gives You...

Expert, Individual Feedback

Get prompt, honest, detailed feedback on every assignment from a professional writer. We focus on your unique writing strengths.

No Peer Reviews!

You will only be assessed by your tutor, a leader in their field. No more guessing and wondering how to write; you'll be guided line by line.

No Automated Marking

We use traditional methods of assessing work, as editors at publishing houses would. No generic feedback!

A Flexible Schedule

Work wherever and whenever you want. You can easily fit our courses around work and other commitments.

Relevant, Usable Content

Easy-to-digest course notes that capture a lifetime of writing experience, ready for you to apply to your own writing.

Ongoing Assessment

Your writing is assessed continuously as your course progresses.

Master the Craft of Storytelling and Write Your Memoir

Make a solid start on writing your life story

This course helps you to get to grips with the building blocks of memoir writing. You’ll learn how to present your life as a story, with a ‘big bang’ beginning, riveting middle and satisfying ending.

In this course you will learn how to:

  • set up a writing schedule
  • find your writing voice
  • refine your writing style and avoid clichés
  • structure your story
  • do in-depth research
  • bring all the memoir writing elements together to create a polished narrative

For the duration of the seven modules, you will receive personalised feedback. It is this one-to-one mentoring that helps the most in developing your writing style and ability. 

Although a memoir is factual, it incorporates fictional devices like character, plot, theme and setting. Learn how to employ these elements in your memoir as you work through this course.

Complete a variety of writing assignments. In the process, you’ll begin to see your life story from a different creative angle and be able to make a solid start of 10 000 words towards your manuscript.

'I found this course challenging and exciting. Before this, I honestly thought I knew it all. Boy, was I wrong! This has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful to my tutor for guiding me and for the honesty.'

Cherye Rousseau, Write Your Memoir Course

Course Overview

Start your course at any time – applications open all year round.


Price includes GST/VAT

Other currencies will be converted at time of invoice



The assignments vary in length.



These modules include around 200 pages of course notes.



Work at your own pace – up to a maximum of twelve months.


Working with an individual tutor means you can start the course at any time.


Basic writing skills are essential. Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required.
No previous tertiary qualification required.

Our Graduate Students' Successes

We are proud of our graduates who have achieved success. Here are a few among dozens of our creative writing success stories.

Alex smith creative writing tutor at the writers college

Tutors for this Course

Alex Smith

Alex Smith is the award-winning author of four novels and a memoir.

Algeria’s Way, Drinking from the Dragon’s Well, Four Drunk Beauties and Devilskein & Dearlove were published by Random House (Umuzi), and Agency Blue was published by Tafelberg.

Her work has received widespread acclaim. Drinking from the Dragon’s Well was longlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and Devilskein & Dearlove was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal in the UK. Agency Blue won a Sanlam Youth Literature Award, while Four Drunk Beauties won the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award.

Alex tutors the Novel Writing Course, the Advanced Novel Writing Course, the Advanced Short Story Writing Course and the Grammar Skills Course, where she shares her knowledge and expertise with students of all skill levels.

write a memoir course at the writers college

Lisa Lazarus

Lisa Lazarus is a freelance journalist for a variety of publications, including Men’s HealthPsychologiesShapeCosmopolitanFeminaHealthy Pregnancy and the Mail & Guardian. Her memoir The Book of Jacob, co-written with Greg Fried, was published by Oshun. She has also published two novels with Greg Fried under the pen name Greg Lazarus: When in Broad Daylight I Open My Eyes (Kwela, 2012) and Paradise (Kwela, 2014).

Previously, she worked as principal of City Varsity College for six years. She has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing (cum laude).

Course Curriculum

Module 1

An Introduction to Memoir

  • What is a memoir?
  • Why do people write memoirs?
  • How to overcome some common fears about writing a memoir
  • What you can expect from this course?
  • Exercise: Construct a schedule; consider your expectations for the course; warm-up writing exercises


Module 2

The Basics of Writing a Memoir

  • Different types of memoir
  • Understanding theme and point of view
  • Finding your voice
  • Reading memoirs
  • Exercise: Your memoir proposal; discuss voice, theme and point of view in a memoir of your choice


Module 3

Creating Characters in Your Memoir

  • The narrator versus the protagonist
  • Getting to know your protagonist
  • The central character – you
  • Memory triggers
  • Other characters
  • Assembling a cast of vivid, believable major and minor characters
  • Exercise: Using memory triggers; create a brief scene in which two of your characters interact
  • Text instalment: 700 words


Module 4

How to Plot Your Memoir

  • Plot versus story
  • The key elements of plot
  • Classic and alternative plot structures
  • Subplots
  • Exercise: Outline the plot of your memoir
  • Text instalment: 1,500 words


Module 5

Creating the Setting for Your Memoir

  • The environment: Details = atmosphere
  • Setting as character
  • Compiling research: Library, Internet, speaking to people, private records and travel
  • Text instalment: 2,000 words


Module 6

Putting Scenes Together

  • Scenes, chapters and paragraphs
  • Transitions, beginnings and endings
  • Exercise: Practise writing transitions
  • Text instalment: 2,000 words


Module 7

Honing Your Writing Style

  • The elements of style
  • Whether good style can be learnt
  • Show don’t tell
  • Avoiding purple prose
  • Rhythmic writing
  • Things that are flat-out wrong (most of the time)
  • Exercise: Examine your own writing style
  • Final text instalment: Collating 10,000 words


This course offers an advanced course option

What Our Students Say

Allison HallWrite Your Memoir Course
Read More

Challenging, interesting and rewarding. Helpful, positive but realistically critical. I found The Writers College inspiring. I liked the practical articles I have had access to while studying and have appreciated the positive, encouraging tone of the writers and tutors.
Luba RothWrite Your Memoir Course
Read More

It was a daunting task to begin my autobiography/memoir course at retirement age. Yet Lisa gave me tools, encouragement and hope. She cared about my efforts and I felt comfortable under her guidance. Lisa guided me to link all pivotal personal floating memories into a logical structure, which helped me to sit down and write instead of procrastinating. Through the writing, I learnt the valuable lesson – to hear, recognise and trust my voice. Thank you, Lisa, for your constructive criticism, your kindness, your sense of humour, and just for being who you are – a gifted and empathetic tutor.
Unsolicited FeedbackWrite Your Memoir Course
Read More

I just wanted to mention how fantastic the course material is! I have done other courses in the past and they are positively Mickey Mouse in comparison with yours. I am benefiting so much from it – and from your feedback.
Tracey Woodward Write Your Memoir Course
Read More

Great course. Helped me get started on a personal project I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Lucy Ndou Write Your Memoir Course
Read More

It was an excellent virtual experience. My tutor was warm and knowledgeable about writing.

Get These Additional Benefits

Lifetime Course Access

Benefit from free lifetime access to future course updates and access to our writing resources.

Join a Community of Writers

You will have access to our friendly Facebook community, daily writing tips and writing inspiration.

500+ Bonus Articles on Our Blog

A superb, constantly updated resource with articles on writing and interviews with writers.

Work at Your Own Pace

Our courses work around you. You can pace your course around your busy life.

Work Opportunities

Top students are invited to join our writers and editors for hire service.

Be the First to Know About Writing Competitions

We'll help you keep up to date with the latest competition announcements

Risk-Free 100% Money-Back Guarantee

We are so confident that you will love your course that if you’re not 100% satisfied with the quality of our training, simply ask for a refund within 30 days.

Complete the Application Form to Enrol on the Write Your Memoir Course

You will receive an approval email and invoice within one working day.

Questions? We've Got Answers

You will receive a course manual consisting of seven modules in PDF format.

Each module will contain: 

  • Relevant theory pertaining to the field

  • Practical writing tips

  • Practical assignments that build up the word count of your manuscript 

Once a writing assignment has been completed and emailed to your tutor, you will receive an assessment and feedback, and the module will be considered complete.

Absolutely. You have direct communication with your tutor for the duration of the course. The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the course.

You will get lifetime access to the course, and you’ll benefit from all future updates and improvements to the course.

For the majority of our courses, only your tutor will see your work. Your work will remain completely private unless you get it published. In the journalism courses, your work might be published in the public domain, but you do have the final say as to whether or not it is published.

Students will receive a Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all writing assignments
  • The course must have been completed within 12 months of registration
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course
  • Basic writing skills are essential.
  • Basic computer skills, as well as email and Internet access are required.
  • No previous tertiary qualification is required.

Because you will work with an individual tutor, you can apply for a course and start as soon as you want to. There are no specific start dates as would be the case with a traditional college.

An application is usually approved within one working day. Once we see proof of payment, your course will start.

You could be starting your course today!

This is difficult to predict as some people are simply faster writers than others. However, for each 1,000 words of your memoir, anticipate spending about an hour writing and at least the same amount of time revising. The exercises should not take more than two hours each to complete. Finally, you should expect to spend some time at the end of the course giving your manuscript a final polish.

This gives a rough estimate of 45 hours over the course of seven modules, or around seven to eight hours a month.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive notice of approval and an invoice via email. As soon as we see proof of payment, you will receive the first module. We will also send you your tutor’s email address and your login details. Your tutor will also be in touch to welcome you.

Any work you create on our courses is owned by you. We will never make a claim to anything you produce. We follow the rule that copyright subsists with the creator (you).

'Great course. Helped me get started on a personal project I’ve wanted to do for a long time.'

Tracey Woodward, Write Your Memoir Course

Got More Questions?

We would love to help you choose the best course for you. Tell us what style of writing you want to develop and we'll give you some options.