Upcoming classes: Memoir

Meghan FlahertySUNDAYS, APR. 18 — MAY 23  |  Whether you have a manuscript or just the bones of one, this workshop encourages students to shape, write, and polish their memoir and hybrid/researched memoir book projects. Expect a vigorous discussion of structure, arc, and theme, help with constructing chapter outlines, guidance for generating new material, and weekly workshopping. After six weeks, you’ll walk away with either a completed draft—or, at very least, the road map to arrive at one.

This class will meet on Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for details.

Meghan Flaherty is the author of Tango Lessons. She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University in literary nonfiction. Her essays and translations have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Iowa Review, Psychology TodayParents, and online at the New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Her essay “Ode to Gray” was included among the honorable mentions in 2019’s Best American Essays. She is the mother of two small boys.


Number of sessions: 6

Dates: Sundays, April 18, 25; May 2, 9, 16, 13

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm Pacific Time

Course fee: $375

Rachel Howard

WEDNESDAYS, APR. 21 — MAY 26 | Point of view takes nitty-gritty work to master, but the work pays off for the rest of your writing life. Where once you were a student driver handling a Ford Fusion on automatic, stuck writing stories in a single close-third person POV, suddenly you’re a race car driver handling a Maserati, about to shift gears through the kinds of maneuvers you never thought you’d try. Yep, you’ve got to grapple with some conceptual apparatus to make this happen, and there’s some jargon (Free Indirect Discourse, anyone?) to decode. But with guidance, getting technical with point of view is magical. That’s what we’ll do in this practical workshop, first wrapping our heads around the idea that our stories have a triumvirate Author-Narrator-Character consciousness, then close reading a wealth of examples, from 19th century style omniscience to contemporary varieties of second person. How can a single point of view shift at just the right moment shape an entire story? And how can you write with the spaciousness of perspective to make that happen? You’ll leave this class technically transformed, with new writing possibilities before you.

This class will meet on Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom details.

Rachel Howard is the author of a novel, The Risk of Us, which won the 2019 Nautilus gold medal in fiction, and a memoir, The Lost Night. Her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Zyzzyva, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Gulf Coast, Waxwing, and other venues. She has taught at the Grotto for 11 years, and earned her MFA at Warren Wilson College, where she served as the Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow and then as Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing. More at


Number of sessions: 6

Date: Wednesdays, April 21, 28; May 5, 12, 19, 26

Time: 5:30 – 7:30pm Pacific time

Course fee: $445

Susan Ito

SATURDAYS, MAY 8 — 22  |  Photographs can prove to be evocative prompts for compelling pieces of creative nonfiction. What is visible in the photograph, and what is unseen? How does the photograph reflect or contradict memory? Using personal photographs, we will explore many ways to use them as inspiration for flash and short nonfiction, ranging from 140 characters (Tweet length) to 1000-word essays.

Asynchronous learning materials for this class will be available online (via the Wet Ink platform). Scheduled class sessions will take place via Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for details.

Susan Ito is the author of The Mouse Room. She co-edited the literary anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. Her work has appeared in Growing Up Asian American, Choice, Hip Mama, Literary Mama, Catapult, Hyphen,The Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is a MacDowell fellow, and has also been awarded residencies at The Mesa Refuge, Hedgebrook and the Blue Mountain Center. She has performed her solo show, The Ice Cream Gene, around the US. Her theatrical adaption of Untold, stories of reproductive stigma, was produced at Brava Theater. In addition to the Writers Grotto, she teaches at Mills College and Bay Path University. She was one of the co-organizers of Rooted and Written, a writing conference for writers of color.


Number of sessions: 3

Dates: Saturdays, May 8, 15, 22

Time: 1:00 – 3:30 pm Pacific Time

Course fee: $180


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