First Weekend Memoir Workshop
Our first weekend workshop took place in a private house in a historical Goldfield town in Victoria. Surrounded by the bush, fed exquisite hearty food by our host Chris, we heard a flow of personal stories, exchanged thoughtful feedback, and drafted passages that later shaped into compelling pieces of writing. The five participants bonded to form an ongoing social group: we repeated the memoir weekend and kept in touch with personal and writing news. I enjoyed my out-of-tutoring time trouping together to attend a session at Melbourne Writers Festival to hear Maxine Beneba Clark and Tracy K Smith insightful ideas about the art of memoir writing. More writing and sharing are in the pipeline.
Recently I was privileged to attend a Memoir Workshop Weekend run by Josiane Behmoiras at a country property west of Geelong. It was fabulous to spend time and work with like-minded strong interesting women, especially Josiane, a mentor of considerable expertise. There was much constructive guidance and tuition and time for quiet writing and sharing. Terrific, intelligent and stimulating conversation re our common, but individual projects, essentially our lives.
The backdrop of nurturing country hospitality provided by our lovely hosts Chris and Peter complimented the ambience.
I returned home with new tools and a different, but exciting mindset re the development of my memoir story. Josiane is a skilled teacher, writer and communicator and delightful company. I look forward to another enriching workshop with her.
Anne-Maree Hone, April 2016
Thanks for a terrific weekend. It was a pleasure to be in such good company to work through the issues of structure and beginnings. I finally got to the nub of my story.
Siobhan Sheridan, April 2016
The weekend course offered so much more that I wasn’t expecting and that made the weekend so special, such as great people, who made me feel supported in my recounting my experiences, yummy food and good conversational over meals, and a beautiful setting, both house and landscape. Tutorials provided excellent guidance and teaching that hit the target with respect to my project and began to clarify so much that I had been wrangling over.
Kate, April 2016
Josi’s weekend workshop was superb, most helpful. I am still putting down the first draft, and it was all looking a bit daunting. After the weekend, I now have a potential structure for the memoir, including a potential beginning and ending (which I didn’t have before the workshop). Josi’s help in how to construct scenes was invaluable. In fact, all of the exercises that we did were most helpful – a number of things that I wrote during the weekend will go straight into the memoir. Josi has a nice combination of encouragement, constructive criticism and productive left-field suggestions. She goes beyond the call of duty. Thanks to the weekend’s work, I feel invigorated and much clearer – now I just need to carve out more time to keep on writing!
David Morawetz, June 2016
Special thanks to Josi for her lovely approach, and endless knowledge and advice on all things writing! It is such a warm and encouraging environment for learning the many, many tactics for good writing. These weekends give me such a shot in the arm and make me think that maybe one day I just might achieve that distant goal called publication! This latest session, covering voice, was so brilliant, and I’ve come away with excerpts that I wrote over the two days that I will use in my manuscript as well as valuable techniques to achieve something that needs to be woven seamlessly into the story.
Kate, October 2016
During my first weekend with Josiane, I clarified the beginning and the end of my memoir. During my second weekend, I clarified its structure. These three major items had all been a real problem – such a relief to have them solved. I have also come away with about 2,000 words that will go into the memoir. On both weekends, I found the writing exercises extremely helpful. Thank you so much!
David Morawetz, October 2016
Last weekend was my second weekend memoir writing workshop with Josiane, and each time I have come away delighted to have found a much-needed solution to a particular challenge I was facing in my writing. Josiane’s feedback is both insightful and encouraging. Throughout the weekend, Josiane ensured everyone had an opportunity to share their work and ideas, and through her gift of hospitality created an atmosphere of learning that was relaxed and enjoyable. These workshops are unlike any other writers’ workshops I have ever attended.
Trish O’Connor, February 2017
I recently attended a Memoir Writing Workshop facilitated by Josiane Behmoiras. The focus of the weekend was twofold; putting the present into the past and developing characters but I came away with so much more than two new skills. Josi’s workshops are a combination of individual and group exercises designed specifically to aid the development of your memoir. Each workshop is held over a weekend in beautifully selected accommodations. Participants share meals together as well as tutelage and this encourages the feeling of community and camaraderie. Josi’s warmth immediately puts you at ease and she makes sure the environment is comfortable and supportive. I gained much insight from her expertise and learned some excellent tools that have allowed me to inject some of what I’d been struggling to include in my story. I also got to dip my toes in the ocean and sit by an open fire — two of my favourite things — and I’m sure this helped the creative juices flow! It was a fantastic weekend of learning and laughing and I am very much looking forward to the next one.
Tash Agafonoff, February 2017
I attended the writing workshop weekend at the recommendation of a fellow writer. My memoir about the inner dialogue of an anorexic wog child, in the 70s has been challenging to pen. Initially, I felt nervous sharing my personal experience with what is now categorised as a mental illness. Idyllically located at the edge of a national park, by the fire and around the table, we began a series of writing exercises. Their unconventional nature helped us to connect to our voice. Sharing became fun, critique safe and my confidence in my ability to tell my story grew. Josi ran the sessions well and gave us helpful advice and guidance. Away from our normal lives, we entered the writers space more easily. Writing in the company of other writers is a sacred space. I happily recommend the workshopping weekend.
Merima Jackson, June 2017