Biographical and Autobiographical Writing
In this unit students learn research skills by focusing on an auto/biographical topic of their own choice; for example a literature student may wish to research and write the life of a favourite author. Students survey a large range of autobiographical and biographical writing, life stories and personal history narratives in order to examine, analyse and practise different models. They learn various methods of preparation prior to writing, and then how to write their auto/biography in workshops, which encourage peer reviewing. In order to place their life subject in focus, students research contextual background, target markets, readership, and publication. They learn about the importance of ethics and legalities in their personal history research through lively in-class discussions.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1. describe the principles of auto/biographical writing;
2. collect data from a range of sources and adapt for use;
3. synthesise disparate factual information into coherent auto/biographical commentary or narrative;
4. conduct research and planning for auto/biographical writing, utilising such resources as the Alexander Library;
5. write autobiography for target readerships;
6. apply a range of appropriate theories and methodologies to auto/biographical writing;
7. discuss the ethical and legal responsibilities of auto/biographical research and writing; and
8. complete all stages of auto/biographical writing in a professional way with an emphasis on high standards of editing.
1. Principles, theories and methodologies of auto/biographical writing.
2. Auto/biographical writing forms, life stories, personal history narratives, and autobiographical commentary.
3. The analysis of forms of auto/biographical writing and market research into readers of auto/biographies in order to determine target readership.
4. auto/biographical research and preparations for writing, including genealogies.
5. Data collection and adaptation: the skills of synthesising, and recreating into coherent commentary or narrative.
6. The auto/biographical writing process.
7. The ethics and legalities involved in professional research for autobiographical writing.
8. The editing of auto/biographical writing for general and specialised publication.
9. Ghost writing.
10. Biographical versus autobiographical writing.
Proposal - 30%
Auto/biographical project plus accompanying essay - 70%