Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt delves into his Irish childhood steeped in hardship and suffering, while Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert recounts the author leaving an unhappy marriage to travel the world on a voyage of self discovery. Both absorbing reads, and made all the more engaging because they recount a real life experience.These memoirs engage us as a novel might, bringing the people and places to life, and do much more that share the facts about the authors’ experiences. There is something intimate in a memoir, the feeling you are privy to the unfolding events. Memoirs are the telling of an interesting story based on some aspect of our experience in life.

Local writer Alison Summers can help you to discover your own story, and can share her writing experience to guide you towards writing your own memoir:

When I discovered my late parents’ wartime letters, I was delighted to learn the story of my father’s courtship of my mother. He was a bomb disposal officer in the navy and she was teaching Latin to evacuees from Glasgow. As I read through the correspondence, I got to know my parents as they were in their twenties. They were funny, serious and utterly human. I recognised them as people I would like to have been friends with. I was immensely privileged to have access to the correspondence and I am enjoying editing these charming letters with a view to publishing them for the family. The experience made me realise how little children often know about the previous generation and it inspired me to create Ballochruin Creative Writing where I run memoir writing courses.

Based at Ballochruin Farm, Alison will introduce you to ways of remembering, writing and structuring your life story. Using objects, pictures, films and your own archives (bring your most precious ones) Alison will use exercises which inspire you to write powerful memory sketches. Alison can discuss ways in which you can structure your life story, choosing what to put in and what to leave out. By the end of the weekend you will have lots of tools to aid you in writing your life story.

Alison can also edit or ghost write other people’s memoirs, and can help make the manuscripts into an illustrated pamphlet or book for you to give your family and friends.

DISCOVER YOUR STORY 20/21 MAY 10AM-4PM FEE £230 INCLUDES tuition, coffee, tea and lunch on both days. There is also an of offer 10% discount on future workshops and services. Accommodation (10% reduction for workshop students) is available at the farmhouse (two double rooms with super king size beds and choice of bath or shower ensuite.

Ballochruin Farm, Balfron Station, G63 0LE (beside art4you).
For further information please contact or call 07794818563, or visit

About Alison – ‘I tutored adults in creative writing for fourteen years, supporting them and inspiring them as they found their writing voices. I performed my work at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, at the Traverse Theatre Bar, at Newcastle University and at various other venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I recently completed a novel and have had short stories published in My Weekly and New Writing Scotland.’

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