SPECIAL KICK-OFF Creative Writing Boot Camp with Jenny Pritchett

Saturday, April 8, 10am-4pm  San Francisco
$145 members/$130 non-members
Testimonials for Jenny

Bring your laptop or a pen and plenty of paper—this creative writing boot camp will shock you out of stasis and into practice. In this Saturday workshop, Jenny Pritchett will help you tease out the creative impulse that has lain dormant beneath obligations, fear, laziness, or just plain confusion at how to get started.

“Sometimes taking a class is the only way to get back to your creative practice,” says Jenny. “Signing up is the first step. And then, when you show up to class, pen and paper in hand, with all the hopes and fears of any lapsed or beginning writer—you’re halfway there.”

Come writers, come poets, come essayists: Writers of all types and levels are invited to delve into the fundamentals of craft and process in this fun, funny, and encouraging urban retreat. We’ll read stories that inspire us and other examples of good writing—and some bad, just for fun—brainstorm ideas, and complete a variety of free-writing exercises (some short and automatic and some more involved and tiered). We’ll dive into lively discussions and pause for brief workshops, which help us reflect, connect the dots, and generate new ideas as well as break through the fears that keep us from showing up for our own work. Throughout the day, students will engage with their personal observations and experience—the core to their authentic voices—and emerge with ideas and inspiration about how to keep going the day AFTER class ends.

Jenny Pritchett is very self-motivated. In addition to working full-time as an editor at a local nonprofit, she has taught creative writing classes since 2006 and writes the popular blog, Jenny True: An Excruciatingly Personal Food Blog. Her debut story collection, At or Near the Surface (Fourteen Hills Press), won the 2008 Michael Rubin Book Award, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Guernica, Salon, Southwest Review, Northwest Review, Boulevard, Best of the Web 2008 (Dzanc Books), and elsewhere. She holds a degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. The former managing editor of Fourteen Hills, she has taught or lectured at SFSU, California College of the Arts, Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Leora Fridman: Raw Writing – A Class for Generating New Material

5 Tuesdays, April 18 – May 16, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members

Do you struggle to find time to write? Do you have a project in mind that you just can’t find your way into? Or do you simply want to try out something new? In this class we will focus on the tender excitement of getting started: we will learn to see the opportunity in the blank page.

“We will get going with writing prompts from a variety of genres,” says instructor Leora Fridman, “and we’ll look beyond our notebooks and keyboards for inspiration, using strategies from the visual, the somatic, and other modalities of the body and mind. We’ll write in response to prompts from visual art, found objects and more—and participate in collaborative writing exercises that will push us into new territory.” 

Although you’ll have optional opportunities to share your work with the class and to support one another’s writing, this is not a workshop focused on critique or revision. We’re focusing our attention on starts and experiments. During class, we’ll also spark creativity by reading examples of contemporary writing, with an emphasis on lyric and shorter forms.

At the end of the course, you will have a new understanding of your own writing process, a selection of prompts you can use moving forward, and brand-new starts that you can draw from and revise on your own time. This course is appropriate for those with lots of experience in writing and for those with very little experience—the purpose of the course is to generate your own momentum in ways that will be useful across all genres of writing.

Leora Fridman is the author of My Fault (Cleveland State University Press, 2016) in addition to five chapbooks, and is currently at work on a book of nonfiction. Her poems, prose, and translations appear and are forthcoming in magazines including Tricycle Magazine, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and jacket2. Leora holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers and from Brown University, and has taught for universities and community organizations across the country. She is a recipient of multiple grants and honors from supporters including the Vermont Studio Center, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Dorot Foundation. More at
Katharine Harer: Nomad with a Notebook – Introduction to Travel Writing

5 Mondays, August 14 – September 18 (skip September 4), 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members

“Ten years ago I stepped out of my life in San Francisco and spent a month in Chile,” says instructor Katharine Harer. “I wandered the hills of Valparaiso, the rocky beaches of Isla Negra, and the lyrical and eccentric houses of Pablo Neruda, my notebook always close at hand. Now I don’t travel any other way.”

Whether you’ve just returned from Paris or Sacramento or you’re dreaming of a trip, this class will help you transform your observations into vivid and lasting images. Katharine will provide tips on how to carefully observe and record your impressions of new places and cultures. In-class writing exercises will guide you in identifying themes, composing scenes, and cultivating your distinct voice.

During class sessions, you’ll draw inspiration from seasoned essayists and travel writers, such as Pico Iyer, Joan Didion, Ann Patchett, and Geoff Dyer. You’ll have short weekly out-of-class writing assignments with the goal of completing a rough draft of a travel piece or personal essay/memoir by the end of the course.

Katharine Harer loves teaching creative writing. She has worked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of students in her over thirty-year career as a community college writing teacher at Skyline College and private workshop instructor. Katharine has published six collections of poetry, the most recent, Jazz & Other Hot Subjects, in 2016. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published widely in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. Her most recent travel essay, Delle Donne, appears in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2016, from Travelers’ Tales. She’s currently working on a personal travel essay about Bali.

Jess Wells: From Daydream to Story – Learn the First Steps in Fiction

5 Thursdays, August 17 – September 14, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members
Testimonials for Jess

Whether you are a nonfiction writer who wants to break out of the mold or a daydreamer who wants to get those stories down on paper, join us for this fun and informative course in the essential elements of fiction.

In this class, you’ll get in touch with the fanciful, daydream side of yourself and also work with the core elements of storytelling that will help you transform your ideas into art.

“It’s a real joy to build stories in your head, but when it’s time to share them, there are structural things you need to know to help you recreate the excitement and experience of that story,” instructor Jess Wells says. “This class will help you get comfortable with the key elements of a story, such as the classic three-part story structure, point of view, and the role of the protagonist, antagonist and even ‘the sidekick’.”

This course will be a combination of short lectures on craft, in-class writing exercises, fun homework assignments to use new skills in building your fictional world, and readings of great stories. We may also have informal discussions on topics like how to battle writer’s block/procrastination and ways to validate yourself as a writer.

Jess Wells is the author of thirteen volumes of work, including the novel A Slender Tether on the early years of Christine de Pizan, a pioneering thinker of the 14th century French court; and the novel The Mandrake Broom, dramatizing the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe (1465-1540). Wells is the winner of a San Francisco Art Commission Grant for Literature and a four-time finalist for the national Lambda Literary Award. Her work is included in dozens of anthologies and literary journals.

Kate Montgomery: Screenwriting Boot Camp

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting1 Saturday & 1 Sunday, July 22 – July 23, 10am-4pm   San Francisco
$240 members/$260 non-members   
Testimonials for Kate

“The best way to learn anything is to DO it,” says instructor Kate Montgomery. “In this two-day boot camp, you’ll get the chance to throw yourself into the mix, to pick up screenwriting basics and apply them right away, and to create characters and stories for the screen in a lively and encouraging environment.”

With an interactive mix of lecture/discussion, improv, group and individual writing exercises, and course materials you can keep to reference later, you’ll learn how to pull a story out of the air and build it into a viable three or five acts. You’ll learn how to “beat a story,” how to “punch up a comedy” and experience the fun of “spit-balling” in a “writer’s room” to brainstorm story ideas and solutions across the genre.

“Whether you want to write a major motion picture or the next hit series, screenwriting takes commitment and discipline,” says Kate. “This two-day intensive will give you the tools and strategies to create a screenplay and to have fun throughout the whole process.”

Kate Montgomery wrote, directed and produced the Sundance indie feature Christmas in the Clouds, which won top honors at festivals in Austin, Santa Fe, Vancouver, Philadelphia and Ft. Lauderdale, and endorsements from Oprah Winfrey & Roger Ebert. She executive produced the micro-indie, Ever Since the World Ended, which won at the SF Indie Fest and the London Sci-Fi Film Festival. She has optioned & sold screenplays to producers and studios in the US, Canada and UK, and works for hire as a script editor and production consultant. Her current feature projects include the Italian romantic comedy Pane Vine, and the western Stealing Lily, for which she also wrote the adaptation.


We are not offering new memberships at this time.  Previous memberships will still be honored.


Gift Certificates


1) $145 for a 1-day workshop
2) $295 for a 5-week class
3) $475 for a 9-week class

There is a place on the checkout form to include your gift recipient’s name and email address (for our administrative purposes). But we leave it to you to tell them about the gift certificate and/or to find a way to “present” it to them (i.e. with a card). Just let them know that when they’re ready to take a class of their own choosing, all they have to do is send an email to, and we will sign them up via email.

Julie Bruck: Fearless Poetry Workshop

5 Thursdays, April 20 – May 18, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members
Testimonials for Julie

This workshop is intended for people who want to jumpstart their poetry practice and to keep the engine oiled. You’ll do plenty of writing and reading, and have lively discussions about both the craft and the process of poetry.

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Kathleen McClung: Are You Allergic to Poetry?

mcclungnew221 Saturday, April 30, 10am-4pm  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 others    
Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Kathleen

If your answer is yes, then this non-allergenic poetry workshop is custom-made for you. Maybe you identify as a memoirist, novelist or playwright. Maybe you find the short story a more appetizing genre.  Maybe you write code for a living. But whatever kind of writing you do, devoting a day to reading, talking about, and cooking up some poems of your own — yes, poems — can add an extra dimension of strengths, strategies, and spice to your creative projects in any genre.

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Kate Montgomery: Conjure Better Characters

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting

1 Saturday, April 16, 10am-4pm   San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members     Cancellation/Refund Policy
 Student Testimonials

What makes Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Holly Golightly, and Walter White all so unforgettable? Bigger than life yet somehow also accessible, these characters have all made us feel genuine emotion. “While we may not respect all their choices,” says instructor Kate Montgomery, “they have still managed to draw us in and make us care. If our best stories have just one thing in common, it’s a protagonist who stays with us long after the book is closed, or the screen has gone dark.”

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David Hill: From Life to the Page – Crafting Stories from Our Own Experiences

David Hill copy1 Saturday, June 3, 10am-4pm   San Francisco   
$130 members/$145 non-members     
Testimonials for David

“Nothing needs to happen to a writer’s life after they are twenty. By then they’ve experienced more than enough to last their creative life.” – Flannery O’Connor

“Our own experiences provide us an abundance of source material for writing,” says instructor David Hill. “But where to begin? How do we identify those charged moments from our pasts, and more importantly, how do we give shape to those events on the page in a way that captures their essence and provides a dynamic and engaging literary experience?”

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Kathleen McClung: Memoir Writing – Mine & Refine Your Memories

mcclungnew25 Saturdays, August 19 – September 23 (skip September 2), 10:30am-1pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members
Testimonials for Kathleen

Memoir is not reserved only for the rich and famous. Beautiful and haunting memoirs—books and essays—can grow out of our ordinary lives, carefully observed. Both the distant past and the not-so-long ago can be mined, remembered and re-created in writing. This class is a guide to the mining and refining process.

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Karen Bjorneby: Starting Your Novel – Get a Foothold on Your Project

Karen Bjorneby 9.4.145 Wednesdays, August 16 – September 13, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$275 members/$295 non-members   
Student Testimonials

Writing a successful novel demands a lot of a writer. Novelists need to develop convincing characters, craft a gripping plot, create settings that make their story vivid, and write in a voice that makes their work unique.

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