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Introduction — How I Began

Your quick and easy-to-read guide to life-story writing, by Anna Foster

Some years ago my mother asked me to write a life story of my father who had recently died. He had been very active in the local community; helping out at the old people’s home, playing Father Christmas on the children’s ward at the hospital and, in his younger days, enjoying rugby.

My own special memory is of getting up at 4.00am and Dad driving us to Wimbledon to get a place at the front of the queue for that day’s tickets for Centre Court.

Although I made some notes I never wrote his life story, always begging the excuse of too much work.

I regret that I never completed the task which would have captured life in post-war Britain and also our family life in Kent. Most of all, it would have given my children the opportunity to read about the grandfather they never knew.

Years after the discussion with my mother, and having worked as a journalist, I decided to devote myself to helping people to write their life stories.

Since 1993 I have worked with many people and organisations. Had I not embarked on life-story writing I would not have got to know Amy the cycling nut, Ann who founded a local hospice or Graham, the school historian.

My life has been the richer for these experiences.

All my customers are united in the desire to share their lives with a wider audience. I hope this guide will encourage you to do the same.