Memoir writing – be it book, blog, essay, or legacy for the family – can be daunting. That might be because you’re stumped as to how to start (your life has been EPIC … and spans ‘several’ decades). Or perhaps you don’t know where would be a fitting point to end. Maybe the thing that’s always stopped you from writing your story, or a part of it, is you’re afraid of exposing yourself – or of upsetting other people. That can be paralysing, but there are ways around all of this.

In this workshop, journalist Jenny Valentish, journalist and author of Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment, trouble-shoots the concerns you may have. We’ll go deep into structure – prologues, ways of ordering things, themes as motifs, and weaving in research (if that’s your thing). There are methods of jogging your memory and reinhabiting your younger self. We’ll find ways to describe different people without you getting cast out of your family, and look at some of the disclaimers that famous memoirists have put on their work. There’s a section on nailing tone, humour and finding your voice, and we’ll look at how to avoid sounding self-conscious.

Workshop details

When: Saturday 20 March 2021, noon-3pm

Where: Training Room 1, Eastwood Leisure Centre, 20 Eastwood St, Ballarat Central, VIC 3350

Cost: Ballarat Writers Members $80, non-members $90. Please note: the workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Bookings: At Trybooking

Other details: Due to the venue’s COVIDSafe procedures, we are unable to serve drinks or share food at this event. Please BYO water bottle and snacks. The centre is directly across the road from Ballarat Central’s Ferguson’s and Baker’s Delight bakeries. Hand sanitising will be available. Social distancing will be in place and participants will not be required to wear masks under current protocols.

Sign up to become a Ballarat Writers member. 

writer Jenny Valentish

About Jenny Valentish

Journalist Jenny Valentish’s third book is Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment, which blends research and memoir. It was long-listed for a Walkley Book Award and is now on the recommended reading list for several university courses. Jenny is the former editor of Triple J’s Jmag and Time Out (Melbourne edition) and regularly contributes to The GuardianABCThe Age and more. She is working on her fourth book, to be published by Black Inc in 2021. She has held a memoir writing workshop for The Monthly, delivered a course to Writers Victoria members three times and has taught first-person writing at Monash, Collarts, and to Catherine Deveny’s Gunnas. A version of the workshop has also been developed for drug and alcohol professionals and their clients. Find out more at Jenny’s website