Writing Your Memoir – Three Months
Turn your life experiences into a compelling narrative and hone your writing skills in an inspiring and supportive environment.
With weekly teaching and workshopping on Wednesday evenings – hosted on Zoom. Over three months, Rhik Samadder, journalist and author of the acclaimed memoir I Never Said I Loved You, will teach on key memoir writing topics, including how to map out your story, create vibrant characters that are true to life, and dramatise scenes to place the reader at the heart of the action.
In addition to the weekly teaching and workshopping, you’ll also attend an exclusive live industry masterclass on Zoom featuring insights from a top literary agent. When the course ends, you’ll be given the opportunity to share your work with literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.
Over 200 of our students have gone on to become commercially published authors, including Dr Benji Waterhouse, author of the memoir You Don’t Have to Be Mad to Work Here: A Psychiatrist’s Life (Jonathan Cape, May 2024).
This course runs 17 April to 31 July 2024.
I found this course to be the most useful I have done over many years. Each component of it was well-targeted and very professional…It was a great vehicle for going more deeply into specific aspects of my work-in-progress.
Rhik Samadder is an actor, writer and broadcaster. As an actor he has appeared on the BBC, HBO and Channel 4, and on stage played a lead role at the RSC. As a journalist, he created the cult favourite Inspect A Gadget column for The Guardian, as well as several other long-running columns, and writes features for The Sunday Times, GQ and Observer. His memoir I Never Said I Loved You was a Sunday Times bestseller. The book is being adapted for screen, with Rhik writing the screenplay.
What does this course give you?
- Live teaching sessions on Zoom: Rhik will welcome the group for a 1 hour 45 minute class on Wednesday evenings. For half the session, he'll teach on a variety of topics, including finding your voice, developing a working structure, dramatising material and mastering dialogue.
- A community of writers: Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your novel in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found their trusted readers with us – and form strong working friendships with classmates which go on long after the course is over.
- Writing workshops & clinics: Across the course, you'll get two dedicated workshops with your tutor and the group centring on material from your memoir-in-progress. Students will be invited to submit burning questions and narrative issues they’re struggling with ahead of time – and Rhik will tackle these in his teaching and respond to common pitfalls.
- One-to-one tutorials: You'll get two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Rhik based on 3,000-word extracts from your memoir-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.
- Literary agent masterclass: Join a special Zoom session with a top UK literary agent and author, they will talk about writing, editing and the submissions process, drawing on their experience of real-life publication journeys. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
- Synopsis & agent letter advice: We’ll draw on our expertise to give you the vital ingredients needed for a great synopsis and the all-important pitch letter. Individual feedback will come from experienced members of the CBC editorial team and/or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent.
- End-of-course submission: All students will be invited to submit the 3,000-word opening from their memoir, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W. This is not a formal submission but a chance to give the agents a taste of your work at this stage. However, when you are ready to formally submit your memoir to agents from Curtis Brown or C&W – no matter how long after your course has finished – the Curtis Brown Creative team will give you guidance and support with your submission. Full information about this free service is provided during the course.
- Alumni services: You’ll be given access to a range of exclusive writing services, available only to the alumni of our selective courses, which you’ll be able to access after your course finishes. These services include individual mentoring, editorial reports on your completed memoir, submission reports on your ‘pitch package’ and coaching from experienced practitioners. Read more about the opportunities available to our alumni here.
Course schedule & delivery
Rhik will lead weekly Zoom sessions on Wednesday evenings from 7.00pm to 8.45pm (UK time) unless otherwise stated. Please note that precise dates of masterclass sessions and details of course speakers are subject to change.
WEEK 1 – ORIENTATION & COMMITTING: PART IWeds 17 Apr, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 2 – VOICE PART IWeds 24 Apr, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 3 – VOICE PART IIWeds 1 May, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 4 – MAPPINGWeds 8 May, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 5 – SENSORY WRITINGWeds 15 May, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 6 – HOW TO WRITE EMOTIONALLY DIFFICULT SCENESWeds 22 May, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 7 – SYNOPSISMon 28 May – Sun 2 Jun
WEEK 8 – PEOPLEWeds 5 Jun, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 9 – DIALOGUE & SCENESWeds 12 Jun, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 10 – ENDINGSWeds 19 Jun, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 11 – EDITINGWeds 26 Jun, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 12 – CLINICWeds 3 Jul, 7–8.45pm
WEEK 13 – COURSE CONCLUSION & COMMITTING: PART IIWeds 10 Jul, 7–8.45pm
END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONWeds 31 Jul
Agent Pitch Letter WorkshopDate TBC
The course fee of £1,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, let us know and we can arrange an instalment plan.
READY TO APPLY?
Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the memoir you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application below).
The CBC team will select applicants based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 17 March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 21 March
We read all application material promptly after the closing date and make our selection of students within a week. However, if you require an earlier response from us in order to be able to take part in this course, please email us with full details and we will consider and respond on a case-by-case basis.
If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
We have one scholarship place available on this course. This scholarship will award one talented budding memoir writer with limited financial means a place on our Writing Your Memoir – Three Months course. Deadline Sunday 31 March.
Develop your memoir with expert teaching, tutorials and workshops from bestselling memoirist Rhik Samadder. Installment plan available