course

Biography: unlocking the secrets of life writing

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Join award-winning novelist and biographer Andrew Wilson and best-selling biographer Paula Byrne for a three-hour masterclass on writing biography.

Have you ever thought of writing a biography? The life stories of real people - whether kings or queens, film stars or ordinary people with extraordinary experiences - are some of the most popular bestselling books. 

This three-hour interactive online seminar will equip you with the skills needed to embark on writing about people and their lives and uncover the secrets of life writing. During the afternoon, Andrew and Paula will cover the essential elements to writing a biography, whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve already made a start.   

You will explore how to choose your subject, how to find relevant archival material, learn the essential techniques of interviewing, understand the complexities around copyright and dealing with estates, and be inspired by how to transform seemingly dull facts into shining prose. 

By the end of the afternoon you will have learned:

  • How to choose who to write about
  • Where to start your research
  • The difference between authorised and unauthorised biographies
  • How to write gripping narrative non-fiction

About your tutors:

Andrew Wilson is an award-winning novelist and biographer. His subjects have included Patricia Highsmith, Harold Robbins, Sylvia Plath, Alexander McQueen and the survivors of the Titanic. His next biography will be about movie icon Marilyn Monroe.

Paula Byrne is a best-selling biographer and author of books on Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh and Kick Kennedy.

The course will be delivered on Zoom, and participants will be required to have their microphones on at certain points and encouraged to have their cameras on.  

Course date: Friday, September 2, 2.00-5.00pm

Price: £75 - places are limited.

To book tickets, click on 'book online' in the information box. Please note, you will need to be logged in to see the booking button.

If you have any questions relating to this course, or any others, please email: courses@thetimes.co.uk

1. Tickets may be subject to availability. If so, places are available on first come first served basis. Booking paid in advance and non-refundable.

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3. Full payment on booking.

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9. By purchasing a ticket under these Terms and Conditions, you agree to respect the ideas of others shared on the course, and not share details of these ideas outside of the class unless you have written permission from the relevant individual.