An introduction to autobiography and biography


Published on

Published in: Education, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

An introduction to autobiography and biography

  1. 1. An Introduction to Autobiography and Biography. (Definition, examples and how to write one)
  2. 2. What is an AUTOBIOGRAPHY? Pronounced as AW-TUH-BAY-OG-RAH-FEE, It came from the Greek “AUTOS”-Self and “BIOS”-Life that literally means a self-written account of one’s life. Other sources defined it as: Merriam- A biography written by the person it is about. A history of a person’s life written or told by that person.
  3. 3. What is the difference between a DIARY and an AUTOBIOGRAPHY? A diary is a daily journal of one's thoughts, feelings, moods, actions, activities, and so on. It is not usually intended for an audience. It's personal. An autobiography is a book about a person's life that can include information about themselves given to them from others like parents, bosses, friends, and relatives. It can also include thoughts, feelings, and moods and other subjective observations which are usually expressed within the context of events, actions, and activities. It's written by the person whose life it's about with the intention of being published. (
  4. 4. Memoir, Journal & Autobiography A journal is a record of events or matters of personal interest kept by any one for his own use, in which entries are made day by day, or as the events occur. Now usually implying something more elaborate than a diary. A memoir on the other hand covers one specific aspect of the writer’s life while an autobiography focuses on the chronology of the writer’s entire life. ( (
  5. 5. Now that we have already defined an Autobiography, what are some famous examples of it?
  6. 6. “it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright” ― Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 1.
  7. 7. “So inscrutable is the arrangement of causes and consequences in this world, that a two-penny duty on tea, unjustly imposed in a sequestered part of it, changes the condition of all its inhabitants.” – Thomas Jefferson 2. Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
  8. 8. “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” - Charles Darwin 3. “The Recollections of the Development of My Mind and Character” - The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
  9. 9. Several famous Autobiography • • • • • • • • • • Peter Abelard’s “Historia Calamitatum” Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “Les Confessions” Charles Dickens’ “Autobiographical Fragment” Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” Hellen Keller’s “Story of My Life” Mark Twain’s “Mark Twain’s Autobiography” Sigmund Freud’s “An Autobiographical Study” Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf (My Struggles)” Albert Einstein’s “Autobiographical Notes” Anne Frank’s “The Diary of A Young Girl”
  10. 10. And several others.. Winston Churchill, Dalai Lama, Charlie Chaplin, Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Pablo Neruda, Michael Jackson, Drew Barrymore, Ronald Regan, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Aerosmith, Paula Fox, Michael J. Fox, Craig Thompson and actually many more.. To see the list of Autobiographies, you may refer to this site by clicking the link below..
  11. 11. “I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You've got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything. You've got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don't get it. So don't give up your dreams.” ― Barry Manilow, Sweet Life: Adventures On The Way To Paradise
  12. 12. How to Write an Autobiography 101 ( )
  13. 13. “A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko
  14. 14. Why do you want to write the story of your life? Every person has an interesting story to tell and writing your autobiography is a great way to share it with people. But why do you want to do it? - This is the first question you will need to ask yourself before you actually sit down to write an autobiography.
  15. 15. 1. REFLECT ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: What is your motivation for writing your biography? Ask yourself these questions: • Am I interested in passing on my family history to future generations? • Am I recording my personal history? • Is it my work history • Is it my community work? • Is it my personal values and philosophies? • Is it when I underwent a personal transformation?
  16. 16. 2. LISTS and GETTING STARTED Once you have decided your reasons for setting down your personal memoirs you are going to be writing a lot of lists. This is where just spending time thinking about things and jotting them down will help you build the structure of your personal memoir, your autobiography. Here are a few subjects for lists and the short descriptions that go with them that will get you started. The questions are only to give you a starting point, make your own list of questions and jot down the answers.
  17. 17. Start with a simple list and then expand upon it so that you build up short word pictures. • Places • People • Events and Experiences Once you start you will get the idea and the memories will start flowing. One thought will lead to another and soon you will have filled your first notebook.
  18. 18. 3. Deciding on an AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL STYLE There are many different ways to tell your story and once you have your lists started you can begin to consider the style you want to tell it in. • Point of View What point of view are you going to use in telling your story? Are you going to tell your story in the first person or from the viewpoint of another person?
  19. 19. 4. AUTOBIOGRAPHY STRUCTURE Now that you have your lists developed and you have decided on your perspective, you can always change your writing style and perspective later, it’s time to put your outline into a structure. • Organize Your Lists into a Structure • Themes • Focus
  20. 20. 4. Editing Your Autobiography • “How long should it be?” (What are the key points of your story, what are the most relevant things in your life – family, career, travel, or all of these with equal emphasis? What will your readers find most interesting?) Usually readers like to discover more about the person whose story they are reading. They like to know about the context of events. Be honest and write from the heart and allow your readers to feel your emotions and form a picture in their mind from your words. Talk about your struggles and triumphs, the strong emotions and if difficult decisions had to be made write about how you made your decisions. Do take your audience’s feelings into account especially if it is a family story you are telling.
  21. 21. After you have done the rewrite it’s time to think about the title and to organize a table of contents and chapter headings if you haven’t already done so. Certainly you can find a good title from one of the strongest themes of your autobiography. I’m sure you will have a more interesting title than “My Life”. It’s your autobiography, your story and make sure its worth telling well.
  22. 22. 5. Publishing your Autobiography After having written your story how are you going to share it with family and friends? Unless you are blessed with beautiful copperplate writing and even if you are, you most probably will want to publish your story so that others may read it easily. Now that you have decided you would like to publish your story it’s time to consider the different options:
  23. 23. • You can self publish – Often the most practical option. • You can look for a professional publisher – a definite if you feel you have a block buster. • You can record an audio book – great for letting friends and family hear you tell your story. • Or you can work with an oral history company such as Lifetime Memories and Stories who can work with you to record and print your own custom audio CD and autobiography.
  24. 24. CONGRATULATIONS! You may now start writing your own autobiography but if you don’t want to, then try looking at the person next to you, do you want to write the story of HIS/HER life?
  25. 25. Removing “AUTO” from AUTOBIOGRAPHY gives us “BIOGRAPHY” Came from the Late Greek “BIOGRAPHIA” (Bi- + Graphia-) that means the story of a real person's life written by someone other than that person. - a usually written history of a person's life - biographical writings as a whole - an account of the life of something (as an animal, a coin, or a building) ( )
  26. 26. A biography is simply the story of a life. Biographies can be just a few sentences long, or they can fill an entire book—or two. • Very short biographies tell the basic facts of someone's life and importance. • Longer biographies include that basic information of course, with a lot more detail, but they also tell a good story.
  27. 27. Usually, biographies are written about famous/significant people who contributed something to the world whether they already have passed away or still living. WHY DO YOU THINK SO?
  29. 29. He’s the renowned Leader of Indian Independence.. Tenth place goes to..
  30. 30. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)
  31. 31. One of the most famous American Boxer and a Civil Rights Campaigner. On the ninth place is…
  32. 32. Muhammad Ali (1942 - )
  33. 33. He is an American businessman, known as the founder of Microsoft. The eight spot belongs to…
  34. 34. Bill Gates (1955 - )
  35. 35. He was the British Prime Minister during WWII. On the seventh place is..
  36. 36. Winston Churchill (1874- 1965)
  37. 37. He was a South African President anti-apartheid campaigner. Sixth place goes to…
  38. 38. Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2014)
  39. 39. He is an American civil rights campaigner known for his speech “I HAVE A DREAM”. Top five, fifth place is..
  40. 40. Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968)
  41. 41. He was a U.S. President assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963. Third runner up is…
  42. 42. John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
  43. 43. She is a Catholic missionary nun known for her charity works. Second runner up is…
  44. 44. Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)
  45. 45. US President during American civil war and known to have ended slavery in the United States through the Final Emancipation Proclamation. Also famous for his Gettysburg Address. Gaining the First runner up spot is…
  46. 46. Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
  47. 47. She is an American actress / singer / model. Crowned number one is…
  48. 48. Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)
  49. 49. There are a lot more Biographies to choose from. So if ever you are interested, click on the link below to show the TOP 100 Most Famous Biographies Around the World.. ple/famous-100.html
  50. 50. How to Write a Biography 101 ( )
  51. 51. • Biographies analyze and interpret the events in a person's life. They try to find connections, explain the meaning of unexpected actions or mysteries, and make arguments about the significance of the person's accomplishments or life activities. • Many biographies are written in chronological order. Some group time periods around a major theme (such as "early adversity" or "ambition and achievement" ). Still others focus on specific topics or accomplishments.
  52. 52. Biographers use primary and secondary sources: • Primary sources are things like letters, diaries, or newspaper accounts. • Secondary sources include other biographies, reference books, or histories that provide information about the subject of the biography.
  53. 53. To write a biography, you should: 1. Select a person you are interested in 2. Find out the basic facts of the person's life. Start with the encyclopedia, almanac or the internet. 3. Think about what else you would like to know about the person, and what parts of the life you want to write most about. Some questions you might want to think about include:
  54. 54. • What makes this person special or interesting? • What kind of effect did he or she have on the world? other people? • What are the adjectives you would most use to describe the person? • What examples from their life illustrate those qualities? • What events shaped or changed this person's life? • Did he or she overcome obstacles? Take risks? Get lucky? • Would the world be better or worse if this person hadn't lived? How and why?
  55. 55. 4. Do additional research at your library or on the Internet to find information that helps you answer these questions and tell an interesting story. 5. Write your biography. See the Tips on Writing Essays and How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay for suggestions. 6. Edit your Biography. 7. Publish your most awesome work.
  56. 56. We have come to the end of the lesson, so we hope you guys had fun and had gained much information from the presentation.
  57. 57. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ― Charles Darwin Now go get a pen and paper and start writing!! Put that brain to work!