Advanced Writing Lives (Online - Sept 24)


Every day we meet people with interesting life stories.  Everyone is exotic to someone else.  Our lives are made up of tragic, uplifting and humorous experiences which shape us as individuals.  We love, fight, apologise, account for and endure through whatever comes our way.  These challenges are endlessly affecting, both for the people who experience them and the reader who knows them second hand.  We shall explore how writers transform their own and others’ lives into exciting and innovative texts, so that we can create our own.

This course develops the skills and learning acquired on the current Writing Lives online course.  This course differs in that it introduces topics, concepts and approaches which are commensurate with second year university/Level 5 study, further encouraging a high degree of individuality and innovation. It is recommended that students have considerable writing experience, a strong desire to embark on a sustained personal project, and advanced English-language skills. Students should also be prepared to write reflective critical commentary as part of the course requirements.


Programme details

1. Towards a definition of memoir

2. identifying subject areas about which to write

3. Engaging and sustaining the reader's interest

4. Whose life is it? And what is 'truth'?

5. Voices

6. The notion of self and ways to present it

7. Perspectives

8. So near yet so far - how close do we need to get?

9. Experimenting with time

10. Variety is the spice of life


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of successfully passing the final course assignment. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.


Description Costs
Course Fee £635.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


Mr Jeremy Hughes

Jeremy Hughes has published two novels – Wingspan (2013) and Dovetail (2011). He was awarded first prize in the PoetryWales competition and was short-listed for an Eric Gregory Award. He also publishes short fiction, life writing and reviews. He studied for the Master’s in creative writing at Oxford.

Course aims

This course aims to:

  • Explore a variety of life writing so that students can produce engaging and exciting original work which utilises the material from their own lives.

Teaching methods

  • Introductory section, outlining key areas of work within each unit.
  • Description of required reading and recommended reading.
  • Presentation of materials taken from additional (eg. online) sources, relevant to each unit.
  • Online discussion forum.
  • Online personal study diary.
  • Tutor responses to forum and exercises.
  • Assessment and feedback.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

  • That there are many different types of memoirs.
  • That they must write in a manner which engages and sustains the interest of the reader.
  • That they must transform their own life experiences innovatively.


By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • To be able to write engaging texts.
  • Transform their life experiences into appropriate textual varieties.
  • The confidence to embark on their own memoir projects. 

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 1000 words plus a commentary of 250 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 2000 words AND an accompanying commentary of 500 words due at the end of the course. Please note: passing the course is contingent on completing the commentary as part of the assingnment, if you do not complete the commentary you will fail the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 5, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.