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Oxford Open Learning

Memoir Writing and Family History

Memoir Writing and Family History

No one’s life is ordinary. Our Family History programme gives you the opportunity to share your unique story with the rest of the world. Our easy-to-follow course enables you to re-discover your own and your family’s past in a pleasurable way. You’ll be able to complete a true legacy for yourself, your children and future generations. We’ll show you how to research, organize and transform your raw materials employing an effective step-by-step approach.

The Writing School’s course in Memoir Writing and Family History is, as the name suggests, two courses in one. Whether you want to write your own autobiography or go back to different generations of your family’s history, you will find plenty of guidance here. Some of the skills are common to both these forms of writing; others are more specialised.

Writing about yourself is a challenging experience in all sorts of ways. What you say will be scrutinised by your nearest and dearest and perhaps also by a much wider audience. How do you write for so many different potential readers?  How do you create a picture of yourself and your past which you can live with as you move forwards?  How do you deal with painful elements of your own experience or of the people who are close to you, dead or alive? How do you make your audience laugh? How do you keep them reading? Are you allowed to exaggerate or even to make stories up? The Writing School course in Memoir Writing and Family History will cover all these difficult topics and guide you gently in the right direction.

You may wish only to circulate your work privately amongst family members. Or you may be aiming for commercial success. If it is the latter, this Writing School course will help you research both your subject and your audience effectively so that you will produce a narrative which will sell. We will help you present your work to agents and publishers so that it has the best possible chance of reaching the audience it deserves. Or you may prefer to self-publish through the internet or other suitable media. We will help you create a record of which you can be truly proud.

Every memoir and family history project is unique and your tutor respects that uniqueness. He or she will help you mould your study plan so that it fits in with your eventual goals, perhaps adapting the formal assignments so that they fit your own specific plans. Our tutors will help you find your authentic voice and record the most important and dramatic elements of the life you have led or the lives of those who have gone before you. It should be an exciting and fulfilling journey!

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