Master Classes & Mentoring

For more information, and to register for any of these three classes, email me at

Masterclass in memoir/nonfiction

Dates:  10 and 24 August, 7 and 21 September, 12 and 26 October.

These masterclasses are for people who have previously attended my or other writing workshops, and have a project in mind, or already under way. They are designed to help you improve your writing skills and make progress with your project. Unlike most classes, the Masterclasses have four hour sessions, and are limited to six to eight participants. My experience teaching writing courses, and supervising students who are working on longer projects, has convinced me that these longer sessions with a small group allow time for what you need to develop your writing. They provide an opportunity for learning about the craft, as well as discussion and intensive feedback on your writing in a supportive environment.

We meet fortnightly, at weekends, so you will have time to write between each meeting. At each meeting there will be a presentation by me and a discussion about an aspect of the writing process or craft. In this series of meetings we’ll look at the way as nonfiction writers we can apply the craft of fiction and literary writing to true stories: voice; writing scenes and finding the right moments, structure and design, weaving together past and present, revising your work. You’ll receive readings, examples of the writing craft, related to the topics. There will be writing exercises given each week if you wish, and time to discuss problems. Each week you will email your writing to me and the group in advance. There will be adequate time for you to discuss and receive feedback on your writing in a guided workshop. In addition, you’ll receive written editorial feedback and suggestions from me.

By the end of the course you’ll have a collection of readings and writing craft notes given out at class sessions, plus detailed comments on your work - resources to enable you to revise and move forward.

These workshops are a chance for you to work with me (and other members of a small workshop group of six or seven people) over a period of time as you develop your writing towards a larger piece of work, whether it’s memoir or other creative nonfiction. I enjoy teaching writing, and I think you’ll enjoy these sessions. You’ll learn to improve your writing, and keep moving ahead with it; we’ll talk and share insights, and discover the pleasures of creativity.

Details of the Masterclass:

When: 6 fortnightly 4 hour meetings, beginning in August 2012
Dates: Saturday afternoons 10 and 24 August, 7 and 21 September, 12 and 26 October. 
NB: please note that there’s a 3 week break between 21 September and 12 October meetings.
Time: 2.00 – 6.15pm
Where: Enmore/Marrickville, Sydney
Cost: $750

You will receive: Course readings and notes on the craft, in-class writing exercises, presentation/discussion of particular writing/editing skills & techniques, and written feedback and suggestions about your submitted work from me (up to 2500 word submissions per fortnight). Each meeting you will also receive verbal feedback and detailed discussion of your work from me and other members of the group. This will give you an opportunity to experiment with your writing in a  supportive situation.

Tea/coffee/snacks provided.

Course covers: Presentations on writing and revising creative non-fiction (including memoir/ life writing/travel writing and writing about place); generation of new material through writing exercises, reading and discussion of examples of particular craft skills; advice on writing skills and strategies and ways to support your writing. You will learn how to give and receive feedback/criticism that is supportive but helpful to yourself and others as writers. This course will give you much of what you would receive from a mentorship over the period of the course.

For more information, and to register, email me at

Kickstart your writing 
or, how to inspire yourself and keep writing

A writing workshop over 2 weekend afternoons  - dates for next sessions to be announced

Whether you’re getting started on a new writing project, or trying to get started again after a break, you need the inspiration and energy to 'magic' the ideas into words, to begin with, and then the enthusiasm, patience, and discipline – and a different kind of energy – to follow through, and to finish. In this workshop over two Saturday afternoons I’ll talk about some of the different stages involved in working on a long project and how to work with them and solve problems. We’ll discuss some ideas about how to inspire yourself and stimulate creativity, and strategies for keeping going through the different stages and the challenges of working on a book or longer project. We’ll look at how to work with a first draft, writing scenes and choosing moments, structure and planning, as well as revising and rewriting to completion. There will be presentations by me, readings on the topics, writing exercises to help you develop your project, and discussion. You will send some writing to me and the group before the second meeting, and get written editorial feedback from me as well as comments and feedback on your work from me and other participants in a small group guided workshop session. .

Venue: Newtown/Enmore area
Dates: Saturdays t b a  
Cost:  $300
Tea, coffee, and snacks provided

You will receive:  

1. Presentations from me on an overview of a book length project, on drafting and revising, planning and structure, scenes and moments, beginnings and endings.
2. Course readings and notes on the craft which we will discuss.
3. In-class writing exercises, to help you develop your project, inspire your writing process, and generate new material.
4. Ideas and strategies to support your writing
5. Written feedback and suggestions about your submitted work from me (up to 2500 words can submitted for the second meeting), as well as feedback and detailed discussion of your work from me and other members of a small group.
6. An opportunity to discuss aspects of your writing project in a  supportive situation.

Writing, creativity and meditation

A writing course over 2 weekend afternoons - dates for next sessions to be announced

Writing like any creative practice depends on different activities and abilities – the ideas and inspiration to get started on a project, the imagination and creativity to bring it into being, and the discipline, energy and persistence to continue, to solve problems, and complete the work. But every writer finds there are times when it’s difficult to get to the desk, to focus on writing, to find the confidence to experiment or follow your ideas. Write a little every day without hope and fear, Isaak Dinesen said. In this class over 2 Saturday afternoons we will use meditation and writing exercises, readings and discussion to improve our understanding of the writing process and the different stages of creative work. Learning to meditate can be an aid to the writer. Meditation can help you, for example, to give your full attention to your work; this is one of the first requirement of creativity, and means you can make the most of your writing time. 

There will be presentations and readings on creativity, the writing process, and meditation. I will talk about the ways iun which meditation can help you to work with the patterns of creative process, and give guided exercises in writing and meditation. You will be part of a small group, and on the second Saturday there will be a guided workshop session. You will have a chance to send some work before Saturday to me and the group. You will receive written feedback and suggestions from me, as well as the benefits of discussion during our class session. I suggest you send some writing (must be less than 2,500 words long) that has come out of a writing exercise the previous week, or something that you have revised after using the meditation and writing exercises to help you.

Venue Newtown/Enmore area
Dates: to be announced
Cost:  $300
Tea, coffee and snacks provided 

You will receive:

1. An introduction to some simple techniques of meditation and ways to apply them to your writing.
2. Course readings and notes on writing and meditation which we will discuss.
3. In-class writing and meditation exercises, giving you the opportunity to learn new skills and apply them to your writing process, and generate new material.
4. Presentations from me on (and group discussion of) writing, creativity and meditation.
5. Written feedback and suggestions from me about your writing submitted for the second session, as well as feedback and detailed discussion of your work from me and the other members of a small group.
6. An opportunity to experiment with your writing in a supportive situation. 

The teacher:
Barbara Brooks is an experienced writer and highly regarded teacher of writing, who has published two books, taught writing for many years at universities and writers’centres, and studied meditation in various disciplines.

Some feedback from previous students

Thankyou for being such a magnanimous and inspiring teacher this year. I’ve learnt more than I could have imagined and enjoyed myself along the way. Josephine B

You are one of the best teachers in any discipline that I have ever come across. Michael L

 For me, the way I learn, you are the best teacher I've had in this program! Thanks so much for your encouragement, support and truly helpful critiques! Kitty B

You gave me understanding of the over-all concept of writing one's memories, and set my feet upon the approaches to doing so. And then you talked with me, and wrote, about the writing I did; and helped me to see how much better I could be doing it, and aspects to improve on. Most of all, you gave me encouragement, and the will to go on. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to complete the single meaningful thing I believe I've ever done. M-R Stringer

(Margaret Rose Stringer's memoir, And Then Like My Dreams, will be published by Fremantle Press in 2013.)

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