Life Writing Workshop 2024

The beginner’s guide to writing a life story

The Life Writing Workshop is a two-day dynamic workshop for people who want to tell stories about their own lives or the lives of other people. You’ll learn how to build your narrative from real-life stories, how to do research, how to interview people and how to produce a compelling book.



Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September, 9:00am – 4:00pm


  • Two-day workshop with accommodation, and Wednesday dinner: $1250 per person
  • Two-day workshop without accommodation, and without Wednesday dinner $650 per person


Hotham Room, Hotel Sorrento With accomodation: Hotel Sorrento double room x 2 nights (includes breakfast)

Is this for me?

Maybe you want to write your life-story for your family and friends. Maybe you are writing just for yourself. Maybe you want a wider audience. Whatever your reason, we’ll help you develop powerful techniques for writing your stories and help you to structure your work as a book. These sessions are tailored for people who are just starting out on their life-writing adventure. The whole focus is on helping you to make the right decisions early.

Who is running these sessions?

Hannie Rayson – award-winning author and playwright. She tells her own life-story in the best-selling Hello, Beautiful! and in her one-person show which toured Australia in 2018.

Michael Cathcart – award-winning historian, author and ABC Radio National arts presenter.

What the workshop covers?
  • How to identify the stories which are the building blocks of your book.
  • How to structure your book.
  • How to develop a sense of character.
  • How to organise your research so that you can find the right information when you need it.
  • How to invest all your passion and wisdom in the project in ways that draws the reader in. Common mistakes to avoid.

How to think through some common ethical issues, such as:

  • How do I avoid hurting other people’s feelings?
  • Do I need to give the right of reply to people I criticise?
  • Should I change details if I want to disguise the identity of some people.
  • Would my book work better as fiction?
  • Am I bound to keep the secrets of people who have died?
What to bring?

A writing pad and pen – or a laptop – whatever you feel most comfortable working on. There will be lots of opportunities to get some writing done.

A photo of a person who was part of an event which was life-changing for you. If you are writing about another person (not yourself) bring a photo of that person.

An object which was significant to a key person in your life – preferably an object which you associate with a particular event.