Can memoirs be written in third person? Title ideas?

1 Answer

Memoir can be written in 3rd person but it seems like it'd be quite difficult to pull off. The title should give a tease about what the memoir is about.


Let's first talk about what a memoir is, which is an account of your life. Unlike an autobiography, a memoir does not span someone's entire life, just a part of it. The word comes from the French word for "memory" or "reminiscence".

Can a memoir be written in the third person... I guess my first question is "Why would you want to?" The purpose of a memoir is to tell a tale through your eyes and understanding, which is the definition of 1st person. To move a memoir into 3rd person would mean referring to yourself not as "I" but as "insert your name here". Seems awkward. However - there is no requirement that a memoir be written in 1st person and so yes it can be done in 3rd. Just don't ask me how because I'm not sure.

The title of the memoir should give a bit of a tease of what the memoir is about. For instance, George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is about his time during the Spanish Civil War.

We can imagine what some titles might be. Had Steve McQueen decided to write a memoir about his days racing cars, it might be called The Fast Lane. Had Peter O'Toole written one about the filming of "Lawrence of Arabia" it might have been called My days in the Sun (quick note - these people might very well have written memoirs about these things - I have no clue if they did).