Advanced Memoir

with Patti Miller

A six-day advanced memoir residency with Patti Miller, at Varuna, the National Writers House in the Blue Mountains, NSW

pattimillerMonday 27 November to Sunday 3 December 2017
Applications close 13 September

The Advanced Memoir Residency includes:

Private writing time in your own writing studio
• Small group tutorials with Patti Miller exploring techniques on Writing Memoir (three half day sessions)
• A one on one consultation with a Varuna consultant to talk about your current writing project
• Six days accommodation at Varuna including meals




About Patti Miller

Patti's approach to life writing has grown out of her love and knowledge of the art of writing and literature as well as her lifelong fascination with the way stories construct our sense of self.

Because memoir writing also has an inner dimension – it can be both healing and awakening – she understands the importance of the magical art and craft of the word and the story. She is a writer and knows that there is a transforming power in the discipline of writing, which lifts the stories of our lives out of history and testament and into Art.

Her teaching and manuscript advice to others is not theoretical – it comes directly from her own daily experience of the joys and challenges of her own writing. She has been published in literary magazines and nationals newspapers since the late 1970s and is the author of eight books:

  • The best-selling Writing Your Life (writing text) A&U, 1994; new ed 2001
  • The Last One Who Remembers (memoir) A&U, 1997
  • Child (novel) A&U, 1998
  • Whatever The Gods Do (memoir) Vintage Random House, 2003
  • The Memoir Book (writing text) A&U, 2007
  • The Mind of a Thief (narrative nonfiction) UQP, May 2012 (long-listed for the Stella Prize and the Nita Kibble Award and short-listed for WA Premiers Prize)
  • Ransacking Paris (narrative nonfiction) UQP, 2015
  • Writing True Stories (writing text) A&U upcoming July 2017

Patti has a wide knowledge of literature and writing practice, which creates a well-informed context for her guidance.

Further information about Patti and her workshops can be found on her website:

What Writers Say

Patti Miller's program differs from other courses I’ve attended in its emphasis on memoir as a literary craft. She takes a personal view to the craft of storytelling that allows for a diversity of approach while emphasising the structural elements of the form... If you’re into memoir writing, Patti Miller's workshop will leave you keen to write more, with an eye for the detail and a sense of where to go next. And paradoxically, there’s the added excitement of the not quite knowing where that might be. To me, this mystery is essential to writing about your life.
Elisabeth Hanscombe, 2013 participant

How much does it cost

The fee for the residency is $1,950 including accommodation, workshops and meals.
A special discount is available to all financial Varuna Alumni of $1,650.

How to apply

Varuna will accept applications for the Advanced Memoir Residential Week with Patti Miller from 23 August 20117.

Writers interested in participating in the Advanced Memoir Residential Week need to submit a short Expression of Interest (EOI) to Varuna through an online application. Your EOI will include a short, specific statement letting us know what you would most like to gain or to work on during the week as well as a half page synopsis and up to five pages that are indicative of your most recent and relevant work.
Please save your EOI as a PDF with the file name: YOUR NAME ADV MEMOIR EOI (eg MARY SMITH ADV MEMOIR EOI) and submit through our online application to Varuna by 5pm (EST) on 13 September 2017.

Applicants will be notified of the selection outcome by 29 September 2017.

More information

If you need further information about the application process please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 02 4782 5761. Regarding the residency please contact the Varuna Creative Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Residents will need to have their own copies of Patti Miller's The Memoir Book and Writing Your Life.

Click here to go back to Varuna Focus Week information

CLICK HERE TO GO TO GUIDELINES AND APPLICATION FORM - Varuna will accept applications for the Advanced Memoir Focus Week from 23 August to 13 September 2017