Autobiography, from the Greek Auto (self), bio (life) and graphein (to write), is a book written about one’s own life. Distinguished from a biography, which is an account of someone’s life written by someone else.
Famous autobiographies include:
The difference between an autobiography and a memoir exists within the scope of a book. Autobiographies cover the entire life of the subject; they might employ structural devised that take you backwards and forwards or even start at the end and finish at birth, but they ultimately tell the story of an entire life.
Memoirs are more concerned with specific incidences or periods of time (e.g. a war memoir). Although background may be given to other periods of a subject’s life, the focus is thematically placed on an aspect of a life rather than a life in its entirety.
Examples of great memoirs include:
Follow me on twitter @hayleytheghost
My emotional ghost-writing experience, telling a story that needed to be told.
Even the title, ghost writer, makes the profession sound mysterious and covert; a ghost-like presence swoops in unseen, does the business and is soundlessly away. In reality, ghosts are an important part of the publishing industry, widely used by agents, publishers and individuals with an idea for a book and no one to write it.
Interview yourself for your autobiography. A useful resource for autobiography writers.
If you’re thirty-nine, less than happily single and looking for a good biography, try reading about Gandhi or Cher or one of the Spice Girls. Oliver Sacks is not for you.
Good question …