We are familiar with the oft quoted adage 'write what you know'. But what does this really mean, with regard to writing from our own lives or the lives of others? Philip Roth has said that what might seem like autobiography in his work is actually often 'mock-autobiography, hypothetical autobiography or autobiography grandiosely enlarged.' Novelists regularly confess to being magpies, who who steal, inherit, imagine, revisit, homage and collate material from varied sources.
In this masterclass, Nikita Lalwani will examine the ways in which writers can take inspiration from life, and will explore the ways in which telling detail - whether remembered, observed, or imagined - can stimulate possibilities for plot and character development in fiction.
Nikita Lalwani was born in Rajasthan, India and raised in Wales. She is the author of two novels: 'Village' to be published by Viking in May 2012, and 'Gifted' which was longlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007, shortlisted for the Costa Prize and Sunday Times Young Writer of the year, winning the Desmond Elliot Award in 2008. Gifted has been published in 16 different languages and was adapted as a BBC Radio 4 Drama which won a Mental Health Media Award in 2009. Lalwani is a tutor on the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University in London and also on the MA at Oxford University. She has written for the Guardian and New Statesman, and contributed an essay to the non-fiction anthology AIDS SUTRA, published by Random House in 2009, exploring the human stories around the HIV epidemic in India.
When & Where
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.