a FREE life writing course with Zeba Talkhani


Spread the Word are delighted to share that as part of our create-write-connect campaign offering free writing activities during these unprecedented, difficult times, Zeba Talkhani will be running a FREE life writing course for writers interested in this genre. Launched to celebrate Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2021, we hope that this course will inspire more aspiring life writers to enter the Prize, which opens for submissions on Monday 2 November.

If you are in a position to make a donation to our campaign to support writers and to keep our work free, low cost and accessible and the invaluable work of the Trussell Trust, you can do so here:

Life Writing with Zeba Talkhani 

This 4-week email course will guide you through the process of transforming your lived experiences into an engaging narrative form. Our voice is as unique as we are, and through this guided writing course, you can get started on finding your strong inner voice and narrative style.   

This course is for anyone interested in writing about their life, especially those who are writing for the first time and would like some help to get started in sharing their stories. It is also intended for those who are thinking about entering the Life Writing Prize but need a little guidance. These emails will contain a combination of readings, writing exercises and advice on memoir and life writing. The aim is to help you identify your strengths, find your voice and make you develop your own unique style. 

By the end of this course, you will have explored your writing voice through different exercises and examples of published memoir and non-fiction writing.  


This writing course will be delivered via e-mail using Mailchimp.

You’ll receive five emails on the following dates.

Wednesday 18 November (guidance and intro email), Wednesday 25 November (week 1), Wednesday 2 December (week 2), Wednesday 9 December (week 3), Wednesday 16 December (week 4).


This course is designed with creativity and accessibility at its heart; it is free to take part in, optimised for screen reading, and includes transcriptions and audio descriptions of music.

Sign up

Email address

You need to subscribe to the course which will be delivered via Mailchimp*. You can sign up after the course has started. In the introduction to each week there will be links to previous week’s activities, so you can take part in the whole course no matter when you sign up. The latest date you need to sign up by in order to participate in the course is Wednesday 16 December (5pm). We regret to say that we are unable to provide course content to people who register after this date.

About Zeba

Zeba Talkhani is the author of My Past is a Foreign Country. She has written for the Saudi GazetteThe Manipal Journalgal-demWasafiri and the Nasty Women anthology. She was born in Sirsi, South India, in 1991. She works in publishing and lives in London. 

About the Life Writing Prize 2021

The Life Writing Prize was established in 2016 to find and develop the best life writing from emerging writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent. Now in its fifth year, the Life Writing Prize 2021 opens for submission at midday on Monday 2 November. Spread the Word are delighted to share that Damian Barr, Catherine Cho and Frances Wilson will be judging the Prize. Open to unagented writers across the UK, the Prize is free to enter.

Twelve writers will be longlisted and offered publication on the Spread the Word website, and in a Life Writing Prize booklet designed to showcase the Prize’s top writers to the literary world.  The winner of The Life Writing Prize will receive £1,500, an Arvon course, a writing mentor, two years’ membership of the Royal Society of Literature and an optional development meeting with an agent and editor. Two highly commended writers each receive £500 and mentoring. 

We welcome audio / visual submissions from disabled writers, and have uploaded inclusive documents on our website. You can find out more about the Prize here:

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Published 30 October 2020