Writing Creative Non-Fiction

I attended a workshop on Writing Creative Non-Fiction on Wednesday, March 20th, conducted by Andrea Stuart, and organised by the NCF Literary Arts Desk. I jumped at the opportunity to attend, not only because it was a free workshop by a respected author, but because I am one of the Editors of an upcoming anthology of sensual memoirs by Caribbean women. I hope you know of Senseisha by now. Submissions have been trickling in, and it’s already shaping up to be one controversial read!

Oh so many genres, so little time…

truecrime

Sample of my True Crime Collection

I have always LOVED True Crime. My good friends used to buy me True Crime and Serial Killer biographies as birthday and Christmas gifts. They knew they couldn’t go wrong with those – True Crime books or earrings. I always joke that if the Criminal Minds team had to inspect my bedroom (Shamar, you are welcome anytime!), they would look at my bookshelf and diagnose me a serial killer. What does your bookshelf say about you?

I even tried my hand at investigating unsolved murders here in Barbados, and had some articles published in local newspapers about the Canefield Murders (a killer who dumped his female victims in canefields), and the Pele case (the controversial murder of a local football star). Why did I stop? I hope in a couple years I’ll be able to tell you…

So…Back to Andrea Stuart – author of the books Showgirls, which was adapted into a two-part documentary for the Discovery Channel, and The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine. Her third and current book Sugar in the Blood: One Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire was published in England (2012) by Portobello Books and was published in the US by Knopf in January (2013).

I.e she knows her stuff. Below I’ve noted some key facts and tips that she shared with the workshop attendees about writing creative non-fiction. Those persons who wish to submit to Senseisha should pay special attention. Continue reading

Of Memory and Story

Writing a memoir: Intersecting memory and story

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