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Writing From Life – with Lu Spinney

Writing From Life – with Lu Spinney

Do you have a real-life story to tell, but are worried about sharing too much of your life – as well as that of others? Are you struggling to give a narrative arc to your memoir so that it isn’t just a catalogue of events? Or wondering how much creative license you can bring to true events?

Life-writing – whether memoir or auto-fiction – involves a tension between truth and creativity, between memory and interpretation, intimacy and exposure. In this masterclass Lu Spinney, author of Beyond the High Blue Air, will show you how to stay true to real-life events and feelings whilst creating a compelling and readable story – and how to navigate the challenging ethical implications of life-writing, as well as the psychological impact of sharing our lives and those of others. She will talk to you about the challenges she faced when writing her own searing account of her son’s life and death – and how she overcame them to finish her memoir and share her story.

Date: 21st November 2017

Time: 6.30-8.30pm

Location: LIBRARY, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4BD

Book now – only ten places available!

At the heart of life-writing, there are countless contradictions and tensions: how much to share, what to hold back; how to write from true life, but provide a narrative arc to hold the reader’s interest; how to write honestly, whilst supplementing your story with imagination and unreliable memory; how to write about events that are often private and painful, to share with strangers. How does a writer reconcile these tensions? How can you give substance and structure to your real-life events whilst remaining true to what happened?

Memoir treads the line between fiction and non-fiction, and so can provide the writer with unique difficulties. It is also frequently the offering of a debut writer – it is from having a true-life story to tell that many people are compelled to begin writing.

Whatever your story, this two-hour masterclass will equip you with techniques to balance the fine line between truth and creativity. You will learn writing approaches to help you master the delicate and subtle art of writing from real life. And in addition, the class will provide guidance on how to address the unique obstacles of writing memoir, and how to negotiate the publishing world as a new writer.

The masterclass is small and personal – just ten writers including you – allowing you a genuine opportunity to learn how to write from true life, and discuss with Lu the finer points of creating an engaging, engrossing and unputdownable book.

Course Content:

  • The basic principles of writing from true life
  • How to give a narrative arc to your real-life events
  • Advice on how to open yourself up without giving yourself away
  • How to avoid invading others’ privacy whilst telling the whole story
  • Writing techniques that you can apply to your own work
  • Tips on self-editing to pare back your story to its essential components
  • Examples of great memoir – how they shaped real-life events to create a compelling story
  • Practical writing exercise
  • Final Q&A*

*the class is interactive and there will be many opportunities for discussion, throughout.

About your tutor:

Lu Spinney is the debut author of Beyond The High Blue Air, a “profoundly moving and grippingly readable book” (The Sunday Times). This “devastating, important memoir” (Daily Mail) begins with the accident that caused the traumatic brain injury of her eldest son, and follows his journey – and that of the family – from hope of full recovery to the anguish of realising that, although he has been saved from death, he has not been given a meaningful life. A work of “highest literary skill and heroic courage” (John Sutherland), Beyond the High Blue Air has been published in the UK and the US. Lu has written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, the Independent and The New York Times.

“Lu Spinney has a tragic story to tell. The circumstances are unique. But what she expresses – disbelief, hope, anger, dismay – is universal. And the ethical questions she raises are vitally important. Most important, she writes beautifully.” (Blake Morrison, author of And When Did You Last See Your Father).

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Apply here for the Ink Academy Writing Course

Applying to the Ink Academy Writing Course is quick and simple. Just upload a sample of your writing below, along with your name and email address, and we will be in touch with enrolment details.

The sample of your writing does not need to be polished or perfect, or even from the work you want to develop on the course. It is just so that we can ensure our course is best placed to help you. For more details, please see our FAQs.

Please feel free to include any additional information, for example:
– Anything you’d like us to know about your writing experience, the project you’d like to work on or the submission you’ve uploaded below
– Preferred times and days for tutorials
– Whether you would like any additional Group Workshops (1 is included in the price)

Upload 1,000-5,000 words of your writing here: