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An introduction to writing family history

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

An introduction to writing family history

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
An introduction to writing family history STANDARD PRICE Ended £399.00 £0.00
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Event Details

Family history can provide a unique perspective on dramatic events, as well as insight into the intergenerational relationships that underpin them. The writer's intimate connection to the material can add a new and resonant dimension to a reader's experience. Led by novelist Nick Barlay, author of lauded recent non-fiction family history 'Scattered Ghosts', this comprehensive course provides tuition in the technical skills, including character development and dialogue, needed to turn real life into poignant stories. You'll find out how to use research to add depth and understanding to your writing, and you'll discover how historical detail and narrative dynamic can come together to reveal the universal truths in particular family histories.

Course description

An intensive and practical exploration of approaches to writing family history and the ingredients that can make any family history compelling to read. The course will combine examples, discussion and practical exercises to enable attendees to discover the forms of writing most appropriate to their unique and individual stories. Topics covered over the weekend include:

  • The making of a family story – finding the universal in the particular
  • Form and voice - the 'I' of autobiographical writing. What does it mean to be true to someone's story?
  • Research – how to do go about it and what to do with it
  • Style – character description and representation; descriptive techniques
  • Dialogue – using voices and quotations to create scenes
  • Narrative development – the dynamics of structure and plot

This course is for you if…

  • You are currently writing or planning a story based on events in your family history
  • You are researching your family history and would like to discover new ways to bring your research to life

Tutor profile

Nick Barlay is the author of four highly acclaimed novels and was mentioned among Granta's 'Best of Young British Novelists' in 2003. He has just published his first work of non-fiction, Scattered Ghosts, which tells the story of his Hungarian Jewish family over two centuries. He has also been a journalist, and wrote a long-running and popular series about London for The Times. Other writing ranges from short stories to award-winning radio plays. Click here for his website.


Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about An introduction to writing family history? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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An introduction to writing family history
London, United Kingdom Events Class

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