Here’s what’s going on in addition to our regular schedule of classes, which are ongoing. If you’d like to make sure you hear about upcoming events, you should subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Spend the Day at The Grotto School

……. an extremely exclusive event


On Saturday, September 17, 48 lucky writers will be given the opportunity to attend The Grotto School, where they will participate in hands-on workshops, meet one-on-one with a published author guidance counselor, and have access to a distinguished industry panel that will include agents and editors and publishers.

Plus, they’ll be raising money to help support the writing programs of 826 Valencia.

Your Day at The Grotto School: Our Curriculum

Over the course of your day at The Grotto School, you will attend four hands-on workshops, taught by working writers:

The Down and Dirty of Pitching - A crash course in how to present your ideas to agents and editors from the New York Times Magazine to the New Yorker, and land assignments big and small. Taught by Ethan Watters

Finding the Story - A class that will show you how to accomplish the most essential job of any writer – in fiction or nonfiction – figuring out the story you’re telling and shaping your writing to tell it as clearly and powerfully as you can. Taught by Gerard Jones

Creative Writing Jumpstart – A free-writing workshop designed to help you access that frustratingly elusive side of your writing brain, that place where your creativity hides out, and push you towards developing a consistent writing practice. Taught by Janis Cooke Newman

Guidance Counseling SessionYou’ll attend a one-on-one session with a published writer, and member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto, who is an expert in your major – fiction, nonfiction, memoir, journalism, short story, the novel, etc. – for a personal consultation.

Then, in the afternoon, all The Grotto School students will gather for a Business of Publishing Assembly where they will be able to ask industry experts – an agent, literary magazine editor, ebook publisher, book publisher, and general interest magazine publisher – about the future of publishing and how to find a place in it.

Physical Education – Yoga for Writers – Because The Grotto School believes in offering its students a full program of athletics, our physical education offering of the day will be Yoga for Writers, tuaght by local yoga legend and SF Gate Columnist, Mark Morford.

Our Faculty

Laura Cogan, editor Zyzzyva literary magazine.

Constance Hale directed the program in narrative journalism at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard.

Gerard Jones, author of The Undressing of America, as well as four nonfiction books, dozens of graphic novels, and screenplays for Warner Brothers, HBO, 20th Century Fox and Silver Pictures.

Peter Kay, director of digital marketing and strategy at W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Nion McEvoy, Chairman & CEO of Chronicle Books, CEO of Spin Magazine & Co-Owner of 7X7 Magazine.

Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist, Yoga Teacher

Janis Cooke Newman, author of the novel, Mary, an LA Times Book Prize Finalist, as well as the memoir The Russian Word for Snow, translated into three languages, frequent contributor to the New York Times, LA Times, and SF Chronicle.

Andy Ross, a literary agent based in Oakland, California.

Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, as well as the ground-breaking, Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy and Sexual Hyseria, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and This American Life.

The Writers of the SF Writers Grotto, who will be serving as individual guidance counselors to the Spend the Day at The Grotto School participants.

The Details

Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011

Location: The Grotto, 490 Second Street at Bryant, San Francisco

Time: Doors open at 9 am. Event runs 10 am until 5 pm

Note: This event is limited to 48 participants.



Buy tickets at

Our Mission

Spend the Day at The Grotto School is a benefit for 826 Valencia sponsored by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

Our Founders

The Grotto School is the completely made-up conceit of the writers and teachers of The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, a collective of thirty-plus authors, journalists, fiction writers, filmmakers, and poets who share office space at 490 Second Street in San Francisco.

Started in 1994, when Po Bronson, Ethan Watters, and Ethan Canin rented a six room flat in a rundown Victorian on upper Market to use as a workspace with the theory that “community breed productivity,” The Grotto has more than proven their theory correct. In addition to turning out a steady stream of books, articles, feature films, television series, short stories, poems, and essays, The Grotto now runs four seasons of evening and weekend writing classes, all taught by working writers.