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Travel Memoir

Where in the world did you get that great idea?

Travelling to or living in a unique location? Write about it! Learn the essentials to ‘armchair travel’ writing and make your story stand out. More detail

Upcoming course dates


StartsSaturday 10 September 2016

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)


Presenter Claire Scobie

Book Now

We run this course in Sydney every six months (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!

Course description

Your journey, your story, your unique memoir

  • Are you planning a trip that you think has book potential?
  • Somewhere different, something unique or someplace exotic?
  • You may travel a lot for work and believe you already have a story to share.
  • Perhaps you’d like your travel blog to be more than just a list of places and dates.
  • Or maybe you’ve recently returned from riding backwards on a unicycle across Africa whilst towing a small inflatable paddling pool.
  • Step this way. If you think there could be a book in it, your travel memoir journey has just begun!

Choose your own adventure

It’s called travel memoir, although you may know it as “armchair travel” or more recently “vicarious travel”. And that’s it in a nutshell – allowing your readers to live through your exploits. It’s a genre which has grown as fast as the world has shrunk, with thousands of titles catering to all tastes – Tuscany to Tucson, Bali to Mali, way-out wacky to down-right dramatic. And incredibly, just like a train in India, there’s always room for more!

From a publishing point of view, the travel memoir segment has a lot going for it. Publishers and readers alike love this genre – its variety, its sense of adventure and its glimpse into different worlds. Bestsellers are just that, selling millions of copies. And your story could be next!

Bestselling storytelling

Before you grab your surfboard and head for the Sahara, it’s worthwhile learning the art of storytelling. Because unlike travel journalism, literary travel writing is about narrative techniques – more closely related to fiction than a Sunday magazine travel piece.

So whether you consider yourself a travelling writer or a writing traveller, it’s essential you’re able to tell a good story.

We’re talking about crafting a compelling story with credible characters, believable dialogue, atmosphere, tension and revelation. It may be real life, but that doesn’t give you permission to be dull! Your travel blog or book needs to engage readers and invoke a sense of “being there”. Remember, the destination is merely the backdrop for your story and experiences.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  •     How to structure your travel memoir to ensure it’s unique from the very first page.
  •     How to keep your travel blog fresh and exciting – even when you’re not travelling.
  •     Techniques on writing your travel journal without clichés.
  •     Ways to transform your dog-eared diaries into a must-read manuscript.
  •     How to prepare for a trip and how to shape the writing on your return.
  •     How to use social media and Twitter to raise your profile as you write.
  •     The big sell – how to write a compelling book proposal to get your work published
  •     And much more!

Have course, will travel

This Travel Memoir course is suited to both first-time and seasoned writers. Packed full of tips, examples and exercises, you’ll be encouraged to leave the armchair behind and write your own travel narrative. If you’ve already completed our Travel Writing course, this is the perfect next step; taking you from articles to something longer – a bestselling travel memoir, private journal or blog of your adventures.

Your journey doesn’t need to be some exotic speck on a map – in fact, it could be in the same postcode. Quality travel storytelling is all about your experiences, not how many miles it took you to have them. So, grab your unicycle and let’s begin sharing your stories of the world with the world!

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Exclusive access to our AWC Graduates’ Club

Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? The Graduates’ Club of course! Now, calm down – there’s no cigars, leather armchairs or loud ticking grandfather clocks here. But it IS exclusive invitation only (on completion of a course) and it’s free!  Meet other writers online and share successes, seek help or just get something off your chest. Many students believe this ‘legacy learning’ is one of the most valuable things about our AWC community, and who are we to argue?

So if you want to receive feedback, support and a heads-up on opportunities … join the Club!


Your presenters

  • Claire Scobie

    Claire Scobie, Sydney

    Dr Claire Scobie is author of The Pagoda Tree, a novel chosen by Good Reading Magazine as one of their Best... View Profile

What students say

Graduate testimonials

  • “Claire was well-prepared and managed us well (the talkers vs quiet ones). She kept me stimulated all day, both days of the course. Gorgeous location! Great presenter. Useful content.”

    - Christine Gabriel

    "Thanks so much for such an amazing and insightful weekend. The course not only covered the technical side of travel memoir writing but provided writing exercises that helped us develop and understand our own writing styles. I left the course a different, more wiser writer than when I started it, and now I'm itching to start writing my own memoir and get the words down that are just bursting inside me. This course was transformational for me and has provided an important foundation to start writing my book. I shudder to think of the mistakes I would have made without it. Claire is a fantastic tutor and the reluctance that we all shared in not wanting to leave the room at the end of our course is an indication of how inspirational and generous she is. Her encouragement and feedback was personal and heartfelt, you could just tell she believed in us which is really important when you're not sure if you believe in yourself."

    - Lisa Schofield

    “I most enjoyed Claire’s knowledge and how good she was with understanding all the needs of the students. She was knowledgable, attentive and encouraging and give us advice on how we can get mentored. If you are interested in writing, it's a must!“

    - Carla Francis

    "It was a terrific weekend. Travelling through life. Through places and experiences. I think we’ll all be putting various learnings into effect as we pursue our passions"  

    - Kerri-Ann Smith

    “Claire was an excellent presenter. Very aware of the different needs of individuals, involved everyone as a group, encouraged sharing of ideas, and developed our skills. Claire was enthusiastic, encouraging, made the sessions fun, and made me feel that I wanted to write and keep on writing. A fantastic experience if you want to try your hand at writing. I found it very encouraging and feel that it's sharpened my senses. I'm more likely to notice colour, smells, and the little things that I may have missed, before. It certainly made me more attentive to detail and generally more observant of people and places.”

    - Margie Marsh