How to write a memoir with flair and flavour 

A weekend programme for memoirists

 with two acclaimed writers as your guides 

8 to 10 July 2022 

Plus an optional five day retreat 10 to 15 July

It’s advice we’ve all heard: Just sit down and write your book…

Well, we at All About Writing, in conjunction with the fabulous Karoo Art Hotel in Barrydale, have taken that seriously. We’ve designed an exciting weekend programme, The Art of the Memoir, for memoir writers.

Under the baton of two acclaimed South African writers, Joanne Hichens (Death and the Afterparties) and Jo-Anne Richards (The Innocence of Roast Chicken), we’ll show you how to plan, structure and write your memoir. 

Having just completed a writing retreat myself, I was reminded of the value of getting away from it all, escaping dogs, cats, kids, everyday responsibilities, to focus on my own creativity and writing. I hope that will be the case for you too – we’ll do plenty of writing, specifically geared towards helping you tell your personal story, whatever it might be. 

There will also be time to reflect as well as to explore the gorgeous town. We hope the experience will be a treat, all round, nurturing, reflective, exciting – and that you’ll come away with pages of writing and a clear idea of the next steps to take towards completing your memoir. – Joanne Hichens, memoirist and novelist

Cost from R 7103

Book your place on The Art of the Memoir and commit yourself today to writing your memoir  
To book, please contact Cindy Wilson at The Karoo Art Hotel 
Find more information about the Karoo Art Hotel here
If you’d like to discuss your writing needs, please contact Jo-Anne Richards  

The Art of the Memoir writing weekend

at The Karoo Art Hotel

Join us to escape your day-to-day responsibilities, and focus on your creativity and writing at the quintessential Karoo country hotel where all your needs will be taken care of. There’ll be writing, music, art and delicious food in classic artistically driven surroundings, designed to inspire. 
We can promise you the art of a Karoo country kitchen: local organic sourcing, from fork-to- fork, smoked meats, preserves and a focus on Karoo lamb. Vegans and vegetarians will also be well catered for.   
Non-writing partners are welcome, and there’ll be plenty of activities for them, including a walk with a highly regarded botanist. Partners and participants will be given a list of suggestions, so you won’t be at a loss over what to do. 

How the weekend will work? 

  • Book in to The Karoo Art Hotel from 2pm on the afternoon of Friday 18 March – or come earlier and have a relaxing lunch before checking in.  
  • Starting at 4pm on Friday afternoon, we’ll get you thinking about Story, and how it relates to your project.
  • This will be followed by drinks and canapes, and a delicious dinner. 
  • On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll give you a sense of what it takes to write a memoir and guide you through different types of personal writing. We’ll talk about Details, about Showing and about writing in Scenes, for dramatic impact.  
  • On Saturday there will be a break for lunch in the town, which offers an opportunity for a writing exercise on the hoof.  
  • On Saturday night we’ll have pre-dinner cocktails followed by another delicious farm-to-fork dinner. 
  • We’ll then head up to The Karoo Art Hotel’s private cinema in the rafters above the historic ballroom where desserts and vintage sweets will be served while we’re watching a movie.  
  • On Sunday, after a morning of writing and discussion, we’ll have a Karoo lunch before we cast off our writers’ mantles (if that’s possible after 48 hours of creative excitement) and scatter. 

Your course leaders

Joanne Hichens is an author and editor. Her crime fiction titles include Divine Justice and Sweet Paradise. Her memoir Death and the After Parties was published in 2020.

“In Death and the After Parties I write about the passing of my mother, husband, father and mother-in-law, and examine everything that happened after their deaths – the emotional frenzy, the funerals, the family strife, the fighting, the loving. I describe first-hand the shock, the grief, the mourning, the betrayals, ultimately focusing on recovering from loss.”

Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published novelist with a PhD in Creative Writing from Wits University. Jo-Anne has published five novels: The Imagined Child, The Innocence of Roast ChickenMy Brother’s Book,  Touching the Lighthouse and Sad at the Edges.

Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken was recently rereleased as part of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection. When it first appeared, in 1996, it was nominated for the Impac International Dublin Literary Award and chosen as an “outstanding debut novel” by a British book chain.

Jo-Anne has published short stories in six collections and ran the Honours programme in Journalism & Media Studies at Wits University for fifteen years. She has supervised Creative Writing Masters students at Wits and UCT, and acted as examiner for both programmes.


Who will The Art of the Memoir programme benefit?  

  • Anyone who has always yearned to write a memoir, but struggled to begin or find a way in. 
  • Anyone who has started a memoir and become stuck, or who isn’t sure of their direction.  
  • Anyone who would like to hone their writing craft with intensive discussion, writing exercises, specifically aimed at getting you started on your project, with feedback. 
  • Those who would like to develop their creativity in beautiful surroundings in the company of a like-minded group. 
  • Those who would like to kickstart their writing or get back into it with a bang. 

The Art of the Memoir includes:

* Two days of tuition from two acclaimed writers 
*  Personal feedback on your writing 
* Memoir writing checklist to refer to after the weekend 
* Two nights accommodation in an en-suite room 
* Two breakfasts 
* Wine & canapes on Friday 
* Three course dinner on Friday 
* Pre-dinner cocktails on Saturday 
* One movie night dinner 
* Live local music 
* Three tea/coffee breaks 
* Sunday Karoo lunch  
* A guaranteed place on All About Writing’s popular Mentoring Programme 
Cost: from R 7103 per person 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the malaria situation at the Victoria Falls and in Hwange?

Malaria is present in Victoria Falls and Hwange.  In June, during the winter dry season, the risk is low but participants are advised to consult their doctor on appropriate precautions and prophylaxis.

What about visas for Zimbabwe?

South African citizens do not need to pay for a visa. Other foreign nationals must purchase a visa on arrival at Victoria Falls International Airport.  Payment should be in US dollars, cash.

What's your cancellation policy?


What about tipping?

Tipping is for your own account. Tipping is customary in Zimbabwe, but by no means mandatory.  At your bed and breakfast in Victoria Falls and on the dinner cruise there will be a tip box, and money is distributed among all staff. At Nantwich Lodge, if you wish to tip then please allocate something for your guide and another amount to be distributed between all other staff. Tips should be given in cash, please, and envelopes will be provided.

Can we drive from South Africa and would it be possible to camp at Nantwich?

Yes.  Currently, the only Zimbabwean border post open to private vehicles is Kazungula, on the border with Botswana.  A PCR test, conducted withing 48 hours of arriving at the border, is mandatory, as is proof of vaccination.  PCR tests are conducted at the weighbridge in Kasane/Kazungula, near the border crossing and are processed overnight.

What about Covid tests?

Proof of a negative PCR test, with the sample taken within 48 hours of arriving in Zimbabwe, must be shown on arrival at Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe requires eligible adults to show proof of full (double dose if necessary) vaccination on arrival.

What should I bring with me for a safari?

The following items are recommended:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Hat/sun cream
  • At least one change of neutral-coloured clothing (green/brown/khaki/blue) as we may go on a walk during a game drive.
  • Sandals, one pair of closed shoes in case of a walk.
  • Swimming costume (the days will be sunny and warm, though the pool may be cool!)
  • Cold weather clothing (fleece/jersey, beanie, gloves, scarf – it can get VERY cold on the open game drive vehicle in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. Blankets are provided).
  • Multi-national power points are provided in the rooms.If you wish to bring adaptors, Zimbabwe uses a mix of South African (round pin), and British (square pin) power plugs.
  • US dollars cash for tipping, souvenirs, visas, national park entry fees.Smaller denominations are preferred and change is often a problem!

Do I need to pay a deposit, and when will the balance of my payment be due?


Join us for The Art of the Memoir and commit yourself today to writing your memoir  


To book, please contact Cindy at The Karoo Art Hotel 

Find more information about the Karoo Art Hotel here

If you’d like to discuss your writing needs, please contact Jo-Anne Richards  

Find more information about All About Writing here 

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