Memoir: the new XBC writing competition
Introduced by Christopher North

LET'S GET GOING!

Memoir could be thought of as the lighter version of Autobiography. Autobiographies try to tell the whole story of a life up to the day the author puts down his/her pen or shuts down the laptop – but a memoir is a fragment. And Memoir is a broad church. These fragments of a life can take many forms: the old-fashioned – ‘Jottings from an Active Life’, exotic travel such as ‘My year in Uttar Pradesh’, recollections of a childhood either idyllic or hellish, memories of a special friendship, a loss endured, a distinguished friend/brother/sister/father/mother/teacher, a confession (quite a few recently involving ex-President Trump) – and of course for a time the very popular misery memoirs of the 90s and early naughties. Memoirs sell far more than autobiographies; in 2020 there were 10 memoirs in the top 100 bestselling books in English and no autobiographies. There were 10 novels. (And incidentally there were 40 books for children under 10!).

I will talk about the various forms of memoir writing and storytelling, making recommendations of all the forms mentioned above. I will try a couple of exercises for those who’d like to play – so for those interested, do have a pen and paper handy. I’ll give some suggestions as to starting points, and finally I’ll introduce our Xabia Book Circle Summer Memoir Writing competition, open to all!

I will be including a couple of exercises - so for those interested, do have a pen and paper handy.