Write your Memoir

Welcome to the Write your Memoir Course at UK Writers College.

This course offers expert, one-on-one training by a professional writer, and provides a foundation in the craft of memoir.

Learn how to set up a writing schedule, plan your memoir and start the process of putting your life story into words.



“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 Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Cost: £ 495.00
  • Modules: 7 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace up to twelve months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • Several writing assignments
  • A preliminary start to a memoir of at least 10 000 words; the Advanced Course will take students up to 60 000 words.
  • Student feedback
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required


Tutor for this course:

Lisa Lazarus Online TutorLisa Lazarus is a freelance journalist for a variety of publications, including Men's Health, Femina, Psychologies, Shape, Cosmopolitan, Femina, Healthy 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 When in Broad Daylight I Open My Eyes (Kwela, 2012) and Paradise (Kwela, 2014) with Greg Fried, under the pen name Greg Lazarus.
Previously she worked as Principal of City Varsity College for six years. She has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology. In 2011 she completed her MA in Creative Writing (cum laude).
Alex Smith Novel Writing TutorAlex Smith is the author of the travel memoir Drinking from the Dragon's Well, as well as four novels, Algeria's Way, Four Drunk Beauties, Devilskein & Dearlove (Random House) and Agency Blue (Tafelberg). Drinking from the Dragon's Well was long-listed for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Agency Blue won a Sanlam Youth Literature Award. Four Drunk Beauties won the Nielsen Booksellers' Choice Award and Devilskein & Dearlove was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal in the UK.

Alex Smith has been a much-loved tutor at NZ Writers College for over a decade.



Course Curriculum


Module 1 - An Introduction to Memoir

  • What is memoir?
  • Why do people write memoirs?
  • How to overcome some common fears about writing memoir
  • What you can expect from this course?
  • Exercise: Construct a schedule, your expectations for the course, and 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, and 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 and 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
  • Sub-plots
  • Exercise: The plot outline 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.
  • Text instalment: 2 500 words
  • Final text instalment: 10 000 words


“The lessons were very clear and I enjoyed every module. I am sure I will refer to them often.”

Jacinta Nabukenya, Write Your Memoir Course




How does the course work?

Students will receive a 100-page course manual consisting of 7 modules, either in MS Word or PDF, depending on the student's preference. These modules will be e-mailed to the student as he or she progresses through the course.

Each module will contain:

  • Relevant theory pertaining to the field
  • Practical and writing tips
  • Practical assignments that build towards the word count of the manuscript

Once the writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the tutor, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive a UK 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

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:


This is hard to predict, as some people are simply faster writers than others. However, for each 1000 words of your memoir, you could calculate on spending about an hour writing and at least the same amount of time in revising. The exercises should each not take more than two hours to complete. And 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 7 modules, or round about 7-8 hours a month.


We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at +44 1892 710877. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in the UK and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:



Feedback from past students on the course:

"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." Luba Roth, Memoir Course

“Challenging, interesting, 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.” Allison Hall, Memoir Course

“The lessons were very clear and I enjoyed every module. I am sure I will refer to them often.” Jacinta Nabukenya, Write a Memoir Course

"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 a Memoir Course

“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 benefitting so much from it – and from your feedback.” Unsolicited feedback on the Write Your Memoir Course


More Testimonials Here



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We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice. Work one-to-one with a professional writer and realise your writing dreams.

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