Life stories are made up of sequences of events, as in a novel, and those events always involve relationships between people. The interest for the reader, as with fiction, lies in the nature of the characters inhabiting a life. Life writing’s pre-eminent concern with human experience means that it often conjures up a whole raft of characters, both central and peripheral, some drawn at length over time and given great complexity, and some painted succinctly in a page or two. Details about the cultural context can reveal much about characters, and such context should not be confined to the performing and popular arts. In all forms of life writing there are certain characters who feature centrally, they lie at the heart of the narrative. Characterisation is as important in life writing as it is in fiction. Life writing is often compared to portraiture. A good portrait is about history, philosophy, and milieu.