Summer School 2021

A guided course on memoir and life writing


Sally Cranswick, writer and workshop facilitator

This course will help participants to understand the memoir genre as well as to begin preparations for writing their own memoirs. It begins with five workshops giving guidance on structure, working with dates and chronology as well as working with that more elusive commodity, memory. A memoir is not simply a set of unrelated ‘and then’ events: participants in this course will be prompted to find the pattern or story within their own lives. After the five workshops, participants will have a further seven days to write and submit their memoir submissions, which will receive written feedback.


  1. Why (and how) do people write memoirs? 
  2. How to structure a memoir: finding a focus 
  3. Working with dates and time 
  4. Working with memory 
  5. Working with narrative 


The workshops for this course will take place via Zoom meetings. Participants will be sent a link.


Recommended reading

Coetzee, J.M. 1997. BoyhoodScenes from Provincial life. London: Secker & Warburg.
Gilbert, E. 2015. Big MagicCreative living without fear. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Sedaris, D. 2018. Calypso. New York and Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
Walls, J. 2005. The Glass CastleA Memoir. London: Virago Press.


Date: 18–22 January 10.00 am            
COURSE FEES: Full: R1 750 Staff & Students R1 160
MAXIMUM: 25 participants                
Submission due date: 29 January