Skip to main content

Memoir vs Autobiography

Memoir picture Courtesy of Suzy Hazelwood

What is an autobiography? 

What is a memoir?

What's the difference between autobiography vs memoir?

Memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies are all forms of non-fiction that explore an individual’s life.

But what’s the difference? Let’s explore.


A memoir is a piece of writing about a particular period or theme of a person’s own life, focused on feelings personal experiences, reflection, and threading meaning. It’s usually written in first person, and usually covers moments or themes that have been impactful or meaningful. You’re less likely to find chronological, factual information and more likely to find exploration of meaning and cohesion between events. Memoir writers focus on their own experiences and perspectives, and can express themselves with introspection, analysis, or story-driven narrative.


Okay, so memoirs are written about one’s own life. So what’s an autobiography? In contrast to memoir, an autobio is more comprehensive, covering the author’s entire life. These are more likely to provide a complete and honest account of the writer’s life, including the events and experiences that shaped them. Autobiographical writing would generally be less likely to be centred around one particular theme or time, and instead would explore the entire life story of the writer and cross into different themes. Autobiographies tend to be more formal than memoirs.


Autobiographies and memoirs are both non-fiction accounts of a person's life. And they're both written by the person whose life the story is about.


Memoirs focus on one part of the person's life, or one central theme. There's more room for artistic license.

Autobiographies are more complete accounts, more chronological, and usually more formal.

So what does No Story Lost do?

Interestingly, we produce a product that has elements of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs!

Like memoir, we capture feelings of our storytellers and reflect on their emotions.

Like autobiography, the books are usually comprehensive and accurate, and told by the person in the book – our storyteller! Our books are usually written in the first person.

Like a biography, there’s some writing done by a third party (that's us!).

One thing to note, though, is our product is not a ghost-written memoir. We don’t re-write, interpret, or add narrative. The words in the book are the words of our storyteller – though we'll tidy up errors, pauses, and repetition so that the book reads beautifully.

Click here to learn more about our life story projects.


Definition of autobiography: an account of a person's life written by that person.

Definition of memoir: an autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people.



Continue reading

Example of Memoir

The differences between Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir

Photo of typewriter - credit to Suzy Hazelwood

Autobiography vs biography

Biography vs Memoir

Biography vs Memoir

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.