How to write your family history with Nick Barlay

How to write your family history with Nick Barlay

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The Guardian

Kings Place

90 York Way


N1 9GU

United Kingdom

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Learn how to plan a story based on your family history with Nick Barlay.

Led by novelist Nick Barlay, author of the lauded non-fiction family history Scattered Ghosts, this masterclass covers the technical skills needed to turn real life into a poignant story, including character development and dialogue.

You’ll learn how to develop your narrative, create a credible world using setting and description, and discover how historical detail and narrative dynamic can come together to reveal universal truths through particular family histories.

Course content

  • Your story and your readers
  • The people of the story: character and characterisation
  • The world of the story: setting and description
  • Creating and using dialogue
  • Narrative development: the dynamics of structure and plot

Course preparation

  • This course is for you if you are currently writing or planning a story based on events in your family history.

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.

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible - but please contact us if you have any queries or concerns.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

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