Writing a memoir is one of the most stimulating but difficult literary challenges an author can undertake. Nevertheless, it’s a hugely popular genre. Five of the top ten hardcover nonfiction books on the NY Times bestseller list this week are memoirs.
Aspiring memoir writers can find help in books and by searching online, but there’s nothing like a live workshop with a master teacher.
One highly recommended instructor is Tamim Ansary, the Afghan-American author of the critically acclaimed literary memoir West of Kabul, East of New York (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). This spring, Ansary will be conducting a six-week memoir workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I jumped at the opportunity to ask him about his views on writing and teaching this subject.
What is a memoir and how is it different from a personal journal or novel based on your life?
Click here to read more: Of Memory and Story
The mission of the Bridport Prize is to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence through its competition structure.
The Bridport Prize was founded by Bridport Arts Centre in 1973 and has steadily grown in stature and prestige. Right from the start the competition attracted entries from all parts of the UK and from overseas.
All entries submitted can be on any subject, and written in any style or form. However, we do not recommend poems or stories written for children.
I’ve wanted to write this post since my partner in words, Hadlee Sobers, asked getWriters what writers most influenced their writing style. As usual, I have to start the story from when I was a wee tot, and can never just give a straight answer without the back-story.
Sweet Valley High
I have to fight off the wave of nostalgia just from looking at this book cover. I used to INHALE Jessica and Elizabeth stories. Charles Colton says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,and I certainly proved my adoration for the troublesome twins with my first story called Jealousy Can Kill, written when I was about nine or ten years old. My protagonists were Lily, a red-haired, green eyed cheerleader, and Zachary, her blonde, blue-eyed boyfriend. I’m looking at the story now, and it really isn’t bad. Maybe I will share an excerpt in another post. 🙂
Now, every time I think about Sweet Valley High, I think about Chimimanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on the dangers of a single story. At that time I wasn’t reading children’s books with Caribbean characters, or stories that I could relate to. I don’t know if these books weren’t written or if they just weren’t available to me. I remember asking a friend what “a crumpet” was, and I desperately wanted to try treacle pie, thanks to Enid Blyton. That discussion is for another post though. Right now I want to thank Francine Pascal for sparking my interest in reading, and being my first inspiration for putting pen to paper.
PS. I just found out that Charles Colton coined that famous phrase thanks to Google.
“Death By Deadline” features award-winning writer from Barbados, Cher Corbin. Look out for her book “Silvered Mirrors” soon.
“Big Rock Tales” is a strip about “living in a writing whirl” created by Barbadian writer Sandra Sealy.
Sandra writes, blogs, teaches creative writing and is Shakirah Bourne’s “Lit Mom” (yeah nepotism BIG TIME!).
Visit her blog Seawoman’s Caribbean Writing Opps – offering tools, resources and more for writers of the Caribbean and beyond.
Valuable information relevant to all new writers…
Breaking the Shackles
“The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge.” Sir William Arthur Lewis, St. Lucian Nobel Laureate for Economics
Caribbean writers are facing a dilemma. The region is blessed with numerous poets and novelists whose work has thrilled readers over the years.
But if you speak to many booklovers in and outside of the Caribbean, or check out some online message boards where the topic of discussion is Caribbean literature, you’ll find people bewailing how difficult it is to find good books by Caribbean writers, whether it’s in the region itself or in the metropolitan markets.
There is also a thirst for new writers which goes unquenched – again because it’s not easy to find their books in the bookshops. What a shame, considering how difficult it is for new writers – not to mention those from the Caribbean, especially if they reside there – to…
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So this is supposed to be a writing blog, but it is mine so I can write whatever I want – and today I want to talk about food.
I don’t particularly love to cook, but I love to eat, and I love to see other people enjoying a meal I prepared. I pretend to be upset when food that I cooked is eaten in record time, but inside I feel a bit of pleasure that the meal was THAT good.
Please don’t mention this to my family. I like cooking when I want to do it, and not when I am expected to do it.
Anyway, here are some meals I want to highlight: