By Kamila Zahno
I recently retired from a very active life as a freelance public and voluntary sector consultant and decided to take part in City’s Narrative Non-Fiction short course.
I had planned to write my memoirs and needed inspiration and structure. I could not find many non-fiction writing courses in London and was glad when I came across this one. The fact that it was offered by an established institution gave me confidence in the quality of education I would receive.
The best thing about the course was the logical structure employed by the tutor, Peter Forbes. He covered a lot of ground in just 10 two-hour classes.
Peter was very organised in his approach, yet there was room for comments by other students. The tutor would read and critique our work and put it up on the overhead so we could all discuss the points raised. He also sent us his slides after each session. These were invaluable as they included a plethora of reference material.
Even with limited time for student interaction due to the intensity of the course, I got to know some of the students quite well. We were all so different with a myriad of writing styles! I learned a lot from our sessions, particularly from the writing tips and examples from selected books.
The course exceeded my expectations. It was very practical and the notes were excellent. We had plenty of varied assignments. In addition, the tutor gave us information about further editing and mentoring help we could get as well as tips on publication.
Throughout the duration of the course, I was able to write my synopsis and book proposal, which was a great start to my memoir. I am now halfway through my manuscript and have submitted 2,000 words to an anthology of the ‘mixed race’ experience of families. This has now been accepted for publication.
This short course provided me with the skills to write my memoir as well as encouragement from both the tutor and fellow students that my story was interesting to a wider audience.
The next step for me is to finish writing my memoir and find a publisher!
Kamila did finish her memoir and has now published it as Chasing Ghosts.
Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction course runs termly as part of our non-fiction writing course offering.