As you may know, I am the Memoir Director of WhitLit, a new literary festival coming to Whitstable from May 8-11, 2014.

Here’s a full programme of events. During WhitLit our authors will be telling us some great stories. But we know that Whitstable has its own stories to tell. And that’s why I’ve launched the Whitstable MemMaps project.

Below you will find a simple map of our town. Please print the map and embellish it with your memories and stories of the town in any medium you like. You can use words, poetry, lyrics, art, photographs, doodles, and collage – there are no limits! You may wish to contribute memories of special occasions, relationships, significant moments in your life relating to family, friends, work, love and fun. We would like your stories about good and bad times in Whitstable in as much or as little detail as you wish, whether you are a local or a visitor and whether they are your own stories or ones you’ve been told. Your memories might match places on the map, or not. You can add your name or remain anonymous. You can contribute more than one MemMap.


Please scan and email your map to or take it to:

The Whitstable Shop (WIT), 34 Harbour Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AJ
Whitstable Library, 32 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1DD
Harbour Books, 21 Harbour Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AQ
Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre, 11 Horsebridge Road, Whitstable, CT5 1AF

More maps can also be collected from the above venues.

The completed maps will be seen
and examples displayed throughout town during the festival

I am hugely excited about the Whitstable MemMap project, which came about after I read an amazing book called Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper. Becky distributed blank maps of the Big Apple and the stories they unearthed were incredible from the simple and complex to the funny and the touching. I immediately thought that I would love to do the same for Whitstable and when I got involved with WhitLit, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. There are great stories everywhere and I’m expecting gems – tiny delicate gems and great, big flashy ones – from Whitstable. Do email me or call me on 07710 721389 if you or someone you know needs assistance to complete a MemMap. You can tweet me @MarnieMemoirs. Please use the hashtags #MemMaps and #WhitLit.

On Saturday, April 12, WhitLit founder Victoria Falconer and I will be in town distributing MemMaps and WhitLit programmes. Do come and see us for a chat. We will be at the WIT in Harbour Street, outside Barclays in the High Street, and the library in Oxford Street throughout the day.

As part of WhitLit, on Friday, May 9, I am running a Write Your Own Memoir workshop. It’s at the library from 11am until 12.30pm and costs £5. To find out more about my company, Your Memoir, through which I help people write and print their memoirs, please visit my website. The Your Memoir Facebook page is here.

I am very grateful to Hope Fitzgerald, an artist and photographer from Faversham who kindly gave her time and expertise to create the Whitstable MemMap. You can tweet @HopeFitzgerald2.

We are also very grateful to the WIT for sponsoring the Whitstable MemMap project.

The Whitstable MemMap project was inspired by Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper.



In my last post I mentioned that I was to have a role in WhitLit, Whitstable’s first literary festival, taking place in 2014…

I can now reveal that, thrillingly, I am the festival’s Memoir Director!

To say I am excited is an understatement. I am working with founder and co-director Victoria Falconer (formerly Annable), a passionate and energetic book lover with an amazing track record in event organisation and campaign management. Together with our team, we’ll be putting something really special together. And what could be more special as a starting point for inspiration than our delightful hometown Whitstable – home of the free, the quirky and the creative.

We want to hear from you about what you’d enjoy at our festival, so please tweet us @WhitstableLit, find us on Facebook, or email with your thoughts. We have a survey that we’d LOVE you to complete. And we’re super keen to hear from book club members. Apparently there are 65 book clubs in Whitstable and we’re planning a special event for bookclubbers, so do get in touch if you fancy a bit of a book bash!

I am awash with ideas for memoir events but I’d love your input. So if there’s a memoirist you’d love me to bring to the seaside, please let me know. My work as a ghostwriter and editor continues, I am currently working on 12 projects with some truly fascinating authors, some of whom may even launch their books at the first ever WhitLit. Exciting!

WhitLit will be a wonderful opportunity to gather the stories of those who live in and love our town, so keep your eyes peeled for the Whitstable MemMaps, coming soon (we want your secrets and stories – anonymous if you prefer) and a blog of Whitstable Faces – the town’s characters revealed…

More news soon, so watch this space. Oh, and by the way, do you like our snazzy logo?




I am currently ghostwriting for nine authors and this week, I worked with three of them. On Tuesday, I met a woman in her 30s. We’ve just started on her memoir – a life full of secrets. Her book will be 60,000-80,000 words and everyone of them jaw-dropping…

On Wednesday I met a chap in his 60s. He’s writing about his childhood in Dr Barnardos’ homes, which is going to be about 15,000 words.  This part of his life has been largely a secret to his nearest and dearest until now.

The author had recently been into his loft and found remnants of homeworking that his mother did in the 1950s to try and make ends meet. Homeworking was popular with working class women at the time although it didn’t pay much. One of this lady’s jobs (her son always helped her) was sticking jewels onto costume jewellery. Here’s a picture and there are more on the Your Memoir Facebook page. It was fantastic to see these items in the flesh, as well as this author’s first ever suit! The treasures and memories he has in that loft! I look forward to exploring further…


Costume Jewellery
Then yesterday, Thursday, I met with a lady in her 80s, who is writing a book about her whole life, in about 30,000 words. This book will be kept a secret until she dies. Sadly, because I’m really going to miss spending time with her – though I’ll keep in touch – we are nearly finished her memoir. And yesterday I asked what life had taught her, what pearls of wisdom she could pass on, “Decide what you want and go for it,” she said. “Then be prepared for it to not always work out exactly as planned and get on with it.”


In a slight departure for me, I’ve been reading biography rather than memoir this week. The book was Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne. More secrets! I was attracted to this because Brideshead Revisited is one of my top ten favourite novels. Wanting to know more about its author and if Brideshead was in any way autobiographical, I Googled about until I came across Paula’s book. Mad World refers to Madresfield Court, the home of the Lygon family. Brideshead was largely and affectionately inspired by this family who took Waugh into their bosom and their ancestral home. I had no idea and it was gripping! I’ve now bought Waugh’s diaries, letters and the first volume of his autobiography. Sadly he died before he could finish the second volume.

But before I continue delving into Waugh’s world, I’m on a bit of a Somerset Maugham mission. This has been brought about by the birth of Whitstable’s very first literary festival WhitLit, coming to our town in 2014! Somerset Maugham is a writer I’ve always been aware of and since he lived in Whitstable as a child and there will be a Maugham element to the festival, I thought I better find out more. I have ordered Of Human Bondage, one of his novels, which was free on Kindle,  inwhich Maugham calls Whitstable Blackstable. And The Secret Lives Of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings.

Will I be having a role in WhitLit? Yes, I am delighted to say I shall be on the management committee, putting something very special together.

What is it? That’s a secret but when I can tell, you’ll be the first to know…