Thursday, April 17, 2008

How to write Memoirs and Biographies

Edda da Silva (whom I know from the days when I used to do some freelance work with Oxford University Press) contacted me to tell me about a writing course she is running :
"They say that there's a book in each of us..."

Where do you store your memories? On faded handwritten pages? In yellowing albums? Or are they all locked up in your mind, waiting to be arranged crisply on the printed page?

Memoirs and biographies are not reserved for the rich and famous. Ordinary lives are also filled with insight, humanity and laughter. Take the course "Writing Memoirs and Biographies", and make your life story extraordinary. Soon, you will be holding that book in your hands.

Dates: May 22-24, 2008

Duration: 3 days

Time: 9am-5.30pm (meals included)

Venue: 177, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 KUALA LUMPUR

Who should attend?

Anyone intending to write an autobiography, memoir, biography, or to publish a diary. The course is aimed specifically at those who have no previous experience in writing or publishing.


Participants will, among others:

  • look at the biography as a literary form
  • learn the art of "unlocking memories"
  • identify what makes a biography interesting; what is "writeable" in Malaysia
  • learn about the writing process and how to organize content
  • learn how to find a publisher or self-publish
Course leaders

Salt Shakers' course facilitators are well known their extensive expertise in writing and publishing. "Writing Memoirs and Biographies" is conducted by Edda de Silva, former Managing Director and Publishing Director of Oxford University Press, Malaysia, and

Dr Nesamalar Chitravelu, former Associate Professor in the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya.

Closing date for registration is 9 May, 2008. Please note that only 20 places are available for this course.

For more information, please call Rozita at 03-7726 9078, or email


Anonymous said...

Ug.. there are too many repressed memories in there. I'm not going to look :P

Eliza said...

I wish I can attend but unfortunately, this is on weekdays. Sharon, when are you going to run your personal writing course?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon! I didn't know you used to freelance for OUP. When would that have been?


bibliobibuli said...

OUP here - and it was in connection with the dictionaries ...

bibliobibuli said...

eliza - soon i hope. still waiting for bc to come back to me ...

Anonymous said...

Is it free ?

bibliobibuli said...

contact them for further details!

Anonymous said...

Yeah -- I know you meant OUP Malaysia; was curious about what year that was because I know someone else who worked there.

-- PS

bibliobibuli said...

preeta - this was just three or four year's back.

synical said...

I've too many repressed memories myself AND... it's during the week.

If I wasn't already working, I'd go. :P

Anonymous said...

Ah okay never mind then, you were there long after the person I know left.

Sounds like an interesting course -- I think she should also address truth in memoirs and when one should just call it fiction, though!

-- Preeta

Sharon Nelson said...

Hi all,

First of all, Sharon, thank you so much for putting this up on your blog. It means a lot to us.

Edda will be concentrating on a number of angles, including the line between fact and fiction -- you are spot on Preeta!

This is the first time such a course will be held here. Such sessions are very popular in Australia and the UK.

Malaysians have so many stories to tell, stuff that will give us insight, anchor our identities. But we are awfully reticent about this.

Anyway, 'nuff from me. Do come if you can.

warmest rgds,
sharon nelson

bibliobibuli said...

welcome, sharon. i am happy that such things are happening ...

Chet said...

Cost of the course is RM1,200/- per participant.

Anonymous said...

That's someone's salary they're charging. It looks like memoirs and biographies _are_ reserved for the rich and famous after all.

How can they justify charging such a large sum ?

anitakrishlee said...

Hi Sharon! This is perfect....or not so perfect seeing as I am in Belgium. I've started writing my memoir and it would be wonderful if I could attend the course, but I can't.

Would it be possible to get the handouts or the course material? I'd gladly pay for them. Do let me know.

PS: May I link to your blog?

bibliobibuli said...

anita - just contact them directly because i am not able to answer for them. but i am sure they will not just run their course once if it goes well.

and i'd be very happy if you linked my blog!

anitakrishlee said...