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The Life Writing Programme (Online) 2023-2025

(Two years. One morning per week for 25 weeks per year)


The Life Writing Programme has been carefully designed to develop your understanding of the craft of turning personal or researched experience into narrative. It has a particular emphasis on the different forms of creative non-fiction: life writing, autobiography, biography, historically-researched fiction, travel writing, diaries, journals, comic writing and blogs and teaches writing techniques that can be used in both non-fiction and creative fiction.


In your first year you will reflect on the sources and themes of your own writing

  • develop a deeper understanding of your own creativity and enhance your story-telling ability
  • learn the writing techniques that will bring the world of your imagination to life on the page
  • explore the relationship between memory and imagination in non-fiction narratives

In the second year the focus will shift from shorter scenes to longer narratives. You will:

  • learn how to create compelling characters and a strong, distinctive narratorial voice
  • discover ways of enhancing the dramatic impact of your writing and explore the different ways in which life stories can be told
  • gain further insights into language and technique and examine the related concepts of authenticity and integrity in life writing

Throughout the course you will continue to explore aspects of character and setting, learning to negotiate memory and constructs of time in relation to life writing.

You will hone your critical and editing skills and develop your eye for good life writing. In the writing workshops, you will share, discuss and evaluate your work with the other writers in your writing group.

At the end of the two-year programme you will be invited to attend Publishing Day where you will have an opportunity to discuss your work with a publishing professional

What this creative writing course will do for you

This programme will help you:

  • develop your confidence and ability as a writer.
  • organise and manage your work
  • evolve a strong individual style.

All you need to bring to the programme is your imagination, a love of reading, a passion to write, a commitment to your writing group and the determination to succeed.

What is required of me?

Over the two years you will need to organise a minimum of twelve hours per week for classes and additional writing and reading time.

You will need to ensure you have access to a computer/laptop with a good internet connection and a video camera (most modern computers have one built in).

How the course works

The programme follows a structure of four creative writing courses over two years. Weekly seminars of two and a half hours include a mix of practical writing exercises, discussions, group work, tutor-led feedback and taught sessions.

Your online learning space

Each writing group on the Creative Writing Programme has its own course page on our website. Once logged in to your course page you will have access to course outlines, supporting seminar notes, writing exercises and a Writer’s Forum where you can chat with other writers in your group.

How are seminars structured?

To join your online class, you simply click on the link on your course page and the online classroom will open up. On your screen you will see your tutor and the other writers in the online classroom.

Over the course of the two-year programme you will work closely with two of our tutors. On each course you will be offered one-to-one tutorials and an opportunity to take additional seminars with visiting writers on the Creative Writing Programme Weekend Schools.


Click here for further information on the structure and content of individual courses


Key Facts

Sorry! This course is now closed for enrolment

Programme Length

Two years. Maximum group size 12

Term Dates

Autumn: 2nd October – 15th December (Reading Week 23rd – 27th October)

Spring: 8th January – 22nd March (Reading Week 12th – 16th February)

Summer: 22nd April – 24th May

(Dates for 2024-2025 will be given in the summer term of 2024)

Venue: Online


Tuesdays, 10am – 12.30pm

Entry requirements

No formal qualifications required

Programme team
Dr Mark Slater (director), Cathy Hayward (co-director), Katy Massey, Dr Hannah Vincent

£950 per annum

Fees can be paid in full or at the beginning of each term. There is a £20 additional admin fee or the Autumn Term if fees are paid per term:

Autumn term only: £400

Spring/Summer term only: £570

Additional courses (optional):

Weekend Schools £30 per session (5 hours). Publishing Day £50

International students, please note, fees must be paid in GB pounds

To enrol: choose one of the payment links at the bottom of this page and click on it
Please ensure you have read our Terms and Conditions. For further information on this course or our other programmes contact

Mark Slater