Life Writing with Sisonke Msimang

Learn how to begin or develop your memoir manuscript or personal essay

Join Sisonke Msimang in this introductory workshop about the flexible and vibrant genre of life writing.

With a particular focus on memoir and personal essays, this workshop will teach you how to approach writing about deep, personal and often intimate experiences for a public audience. Through a series of writing exercises and insights from your teacher, you'll explore how to narrate your own life in a deeply thought-through way while keeping a clear eye on a set of larger ideas and topics that prevent your work from being narcissistic or overly inward-looking.

You'll learn how to:

  • inject substance and voice into basic facts
  • use rhythm to add life to your writing
  • fit your personal experiences to a narrative arc
  • embrace doubt to inspire you to ask questions
  • utilise rewriting to polish your work

Scroll down to see the full course curriculum and a list of frequently asked questions.

Until 12 February KYD Members receive a $50 discount on this course and all other KYD workshops. Become a member here, or contact [email protected] for more information.

Want to buy a workshop for a friend? Purchase a gift voucher here.

Your Instructor

Sisonke Msimang
Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang is the author of two books – Always Another Country: a memoir of exile and home; and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela, which is a biography of the political activist. Her essays have been featured in the Guardian, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, CNN and other news outlets. She serves as a fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) and is on the editorial board of Africa Is A Country.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. We encourage you to approach this material not just as lessons to be finished once and for all, but also as a collection of resources to which you can return time and again.
How long do I have access to the course?
Forever! After enrolling, you have unlimited lifetime access to this course - across any and all devices you own.
Does the teacher provide feedback?
No. If you are interested in receiving feedback on your project, we encourage you to check out KYD's Manuscript Assessment Service:
What if I decide the course isn’t right for me?
We offer a 30 day money-back guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
How do I access my course?
All our online workshops are hosted at, via the Teachable platform. You can access your workshop by logging in at that link, or by following the link in your welcome email when you enrol. Please note that as the Teachable platform is a separate website to KYD you will need to create a new account, and will not be able to use your KYD login details.
I'm a KYD member. How do I receive my 10% discount?
Click on 'Enrol in course for $149'. Enter the coupon code that was emailed to you when you became a KYD member at checkout, underneath the tutor's photo.
What if I have another question?
You can email us at [email protected] and we'll be happy to help!

Get started now!