How To Write About Self

Workshop with Jarred McGinnis

Online Event
Sun 16 May
14:00 UK

In our time together we’ll do some reading, some chatting and most importantly some writing. We’ll try to answer the questions about why we write about ourselves and, most importantly, why would anyone else want to read it.

We will touch on the additional difficulties, creative and ethical, when writing memoir or writing perceived to be ‘true’. I’ll share some tips that I found useful in my own work. It’s important to understand ‘But that’s how it happened’ is no defence for bad writing.

I’ll have a number of practical writing exercises to get you started and some techniques that work in fiction that you can apply to your ‘life-writing’, ‘memoir’, ‘creative-nonfiction’ or whatever people are calling it these days. 

This workshop will take place on Zoom and is limited to a maximum of 20 participants. It will last for two hours, including a short break. Bring something to write with!

About the speaker:

Jarred McGinnis is co-founder of The Special Relationship, which was chosen for the British Council’s International Literature Showcase. He was the creative director for ‘Moby-Dick Unabridged‘, a four-day immersive multimedia reading of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick at the Southbank Centre, involving hundreds of participants. His short fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio 4 and appeared in respected journals in the UK, Canada, USA and Ireland. He is or has been an Associate Writer for Spread the Word, a mentor for the Word Factory, a fellow of the London Library’s T S Eliot Emerging Writer Programme and a writer-in-residence for First Story. He also has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. Jarred McGinnis’s debut novel, The Coward, a work of autofiction, is published by Canongate (July 2021). Find out more about Jarred on his website: or follow him on Twitter: @JarredMcGinnis.

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How do the Writers Gathering events work?


Once you have booked your workshop place using our online ticketing site, you will receive a confirmation email. 30 minutes before the start of the workshop, a reminder email will be sent out to you with the link to access the workshop on Zoom. Workshops will not be streamed live anywhere else. Each workshop is limited to a maximum of 20 participants, and will last for two hours, including a short break.

Panel discussion

The panel discussion will be streamed live on the Wigtown Book Festival website, YouTube channel and Facebook page, so you don’t need to register to access it. However, it’s still worth signing up as you will be sent a direct link to the event and a reminder 30 minutes beforehand.

Don’t forget to check your spam folder for the confirmation and reminder emails in case they end up in there.

WG21 Weekend Pass
Why not purchase our WG21 pass, which at £30 gives you a 100% discount on 1 ticket to each event. Please note that you will still need to book a place on the workshops you would like to attend. Click Here To Purchase WG21 Pass. Passes must be purchased separately before booking on to the individual workshops.

We appreciate that not everyone can afford the £8 workshop fee or £30 for a weekend pass. Making the Writers’ Gathering as accessible as possible is a priority of ours and so we are offering a number of bursaries for each workshop. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please complete this online form or email Isla on Live captioning will also be available on request.

Asking questions

During the workshops, you can ask a question verbally and by using the chat facility on Zoom. On live-streamed events, questions can be put into the live chat box on YouTube or in the comments box on Facebook and they will be forwarded to the speakers.

Catch up

The panel discussion will be available on catch-up. However, the workshops are not being recorded and will not be available anywhere else after they take place.

Buy the books

Browse our online bookshop, which will stock all our speakers’ latest titles.


If you have any queries about the Writers’ Gathering, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing