I’m running Memoir Writing Workshops at Writers Victoria and wanted to share how writing memoir helped me.
I always wanted to write about my childhood experiences growing up being parented by a single mother who was a Bi Polar sufferer. For years I attempted writing a memoir in order to purge this from my life, but I wasn’t brave enough.
My first complete attempt was my debut novel The Good Daughter where I used some of my life experiences with the lens of fiction as a sleight of hand to protect myself. After I became a mother the story resurfaced and I need to write again, but I didn’t know how. Memoir is such a tricky genre with so many things to consider.
When I had the opportunity to edit a memoir anthology (Growing up Muslim in Australia) I got up close and personal with some of the challenges that come with writing about yourself: what to keep in, what to keep out, how to make it a story, the need for details to layer your story, understanding character arc, how to structure a short piece and many more.
I started writing my memoir Things Nobody Knows But Me and knew I needed help and applied to Arts Victoria to be able to get a mentor to help me and Alice Pung became my champion, my teacher and my friend. Writing and getting this memoir published has been my life’s achievement and it healed so many wounds from my childhood by allowing me to process my experiences. Whenever I have the opportunity to teach memoir writing I see this same experience with my students where they reclaim their voice and feel they are validated.
I’m very excited to be delivering Memoir Writing Workshops with Writers Victoria in the first half the year.
I will be delivering three webinars where I share some of the lessons I learnt and things I wish I’d known before I started.
I will also be running an Online Writing Clinic where participants have the opportunity to submit Pieces of up to 1,500 words every month and receive feedback. One of the things that most helped me in the journey was writing short pieces and having them published along the way. This built my confidence, audience, and gave me much needed impetus to keep going.
Pieces are due 11:59pm Wednesdays 29 January, 26 February, 25 March, 22 April, 20 May. Feedback will be returned Thursdays 6 February, 5 March, 2 April, 30 April, 28 May
Participants have the option of enrolling in both the webinars or clinic, or completing each individually.
I’m so excited to be working with fledgling writers and help mentor them to tell their stories.
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Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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