Lifestories with Patti Miller

Patti Miller: Writing and Teaching

    Patti MillerPatti’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 life story writing also has a psychological and a spiritual 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 therapy  and into Art.

    * It is no accident that words and incantations are both ‘spelled’

    She is 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
    • Ransacking Paris (narrative nonfiction) UQP 2015
    • Writing True Stories (complete guide) A & U 2017

    She has been published in literary magazines since the lat e 1970s. Her articles and personal essays, including travel writing, are also widely published in national newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald, in particular The Good Weekend magazine, and The Australian. She is also included in Some Girls Do A& U 2007, an anthology of Australian women writers' short stories and memoirs about being a teenager.

    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.

    At the same time, she has a wide knowledge of literature and writing practice, which creates a well-informed context for  her guidance. She has a BA (Communications) from U.T.S 1981, majoring in Writing and Literary Studies, and a MA in Writing from U.T.S 1994.

    She has more than 25 years experience teaching life writing and eight years as a Lecturer in Writing and in Literature at UTS and UWS. In 1991 she began ‘Life Stories’ workshops at Varuna Writers’ House, the national writing centre in the Blue Mountains.

    Patti has offered Life Writing at writers’ centres around Australia and at University of Sydney’s Continuing Education program, and has offered specialised workshops for Aboriginal groups, women’s refuges, environmental groups, mental health outpatients, migrants and refugees and a program for regional writers supported by the NSW Ministry for the Arts. She teaches the prestigious 4 month Faber Academy memoir course in Sydney.

    Patti also conducts Memoir courses in Paris every year in October.

    Patti participates in the writing community and is invited to Writing Festivals and Readings.  A selection of events includes:

    • Harold Park Hotel readings – 1980’s
    • Women Writers’ Weekend 1994 (State Library)  
    • Spring Writing NSW Writers’ Centre 1994
    • Byron Bay Writers Festival 1997 and 2003
    • Society of Women Writers 1994,  1997, 2003, 2006  
    • Song of the Winds Festival 1997, 1998
    • Campbelltown Writers Week 1998 Go Girl Festival 1999  
    • Varuna – 10 year of Life Stories 2001
    • Café de la Mairie (Paris) – reading 2001  
    • National Biography Awards, State Library 2002
    • Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop (Paris) 2003 - reading
    • Sydney Writers’ Festival, 1989 and 2003  
    • Ashfield Library - reading 2003  
    • Gleebooks – reading 2003
    • Australian Publishers Association – 2003, 04, 06
    • Lyceum Club, 2005
    • Newtown Writers’ Tent 2006
    • Sydney Writers’ Festival 2007 – masterclasses and panel
    • West Ryde Library 2007 – reading and seminar
    • NSW State Library 2007 Talk 
    • Wordstorm –Northern Territory Writers’ Festival 2008
    • Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Literary Lunch, 2012
    • In Conversations at Stanton Library and Kings Cross Library, 2012
    • Readings at Ashfield, Woollahra, Bathurst Libraries 2012
    • Author Events - Gleebooks Sydney, Soiree Litteraire Sydney, Avid Reader Brisbane, 2012
    • ShepARTon Festival, Literary Lunch 2014
    • Mudgee Readers Festival 2014
    • Adelaide Writers Festival 2013
    • Author events:   Gleebooks, Berkelouw Books, Balmain Library, Stanton Library, Dymocks, Tea Topic Woollahra Library, Sutherland Library, Booksplus, Avid Reader, Mary Ryan’s Bookshop 2015
    • Alliance Française (Sydney and Melbourne) 2015
    • Wheeler Centre   International Women’s Day 2015
    • Sydney Writers’ Festival panels, 2014, 2015, 2017
    • Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival 2015
    • Readings and Talks at Warringah, Sutherland, Balmain Libraries 2017
    • Newcastle Writers Festival 2016
    • Bendigo Writers Festival 2017

    She has also been on judging panels:

    • U.T.S Short Story Competition  1993, 94, 95
    • Varuna/Creative Cultures Regional Writing Competition  1994
    • Varuna Fellowship Assessments  1993, 96  
    • Society of Women Writers Writing Competition  1997.
    • NSW Premier’s Award for Non Fiction Panel, 2013. 2014
    • Russel Prize for Humour writing 2017

    Her own areas of writing interest are centred on: memory/narrative spell / narrative and the self/construction of meaning  / constructing the self / memory and knowledge/ the borders between fiction and fact / cicada dreaming - the creative process / writing for the senses – body, landscape, place/ neuroscience, memory and consciousness.


Books by Patti Miller

Mind of a thief cover



Life Stories Workshop
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