We’re Never Far from a Book

Jane Underwood

Founder

Jane Underwood passed away in February 2016. She was the founder and former director of The Writing Salon, as well as a writer, editor, photographer, and teacher. She created and facilitated the immensely popular and still-thriving Daily Write Round Robin class. Her poetry, erotica, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Sun, Salon.com, Western Humanities Review, Ripe Fruit, and Best Women’s Erotica. Her posthumous collection of poems, When My Heart Goes Dark, I Turn the Porch Light On, was published in April 2017.

Ben Jackson

Executive Director

Ben Jackson has been the director since March 2016. Over the past fifteen years, he has taught composition, literature, and creative writing at a wide range of colleges, schools, and retreat centers, including the University of San Francisco, The Writing Salon, and the Esalen Institute. His writing has appeared in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, FIELD, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he has won awards and fellowships from the Tor House Foundation, Warren Wilson College, Vermont Studio Center, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Jentel Artist Residency Program.

Eda Goksel

Marketing & Design Director

Eda Goksel is a designer and strategist based in the East Bay. Her design work has included creating murals for Wells Fargo to branding and designing websites for clients like Autodesk, ACLU, Accela, and Mentors, Inc. Most recently, Eda was the Creative Director at Hack Reactor, a Software Engineering bootcamp. Eda has worked on projects for The Writing Salon before, designing our brand-new website and logo. When she is not too deeply involved in her design and brand work, you can find her hiking with her daughter and husband in Tilden Park. Oh and cappuccino, she loves cappuccino…

Kira Pascoe

Operations Manager

Kira Pascoe comes from a family of artists who taught her to appreciate the importance of creativity and the arts. For the last decade, Kira has worked in a range of roles organizing communities of local entrepreneurs as well as campaigns around sustainability. Kira has worked with Oakland Grown, Townsquared, Chinook Book, and Community Alliance with Family Farmers. She has a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. When she is not working, you can find Kira hiking with her dogs, enjoying a caffe latte, playing a game or curled up with a good book.

Aliya Charney

Social Media Coordinator

Aliya Charney has been writing since the age of five when she would crawl into her closet to draft short stories, keeping them safe from prying eyes in a Hello Kitty pencil case. She has published her poetry in several Bay Area literary magazines, and is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley where she earned her degree in English and Theater Studies. Aliya has worked as a Dramaturg at The California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) and American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), as well as a Cat Wrangler at San Francisco’s first Cat Cafe. Currently, she works in marketing and content creation for a small tech company and loves taking classes at The Writing Salon.

Keith Donnell Jr.

Meetup Leader

Keith Donnell Jr., born and raised in the Philadelphia area, now lives and writes in San Francisco. He’s a recent graduate from San Francisco State University’s M.F.A. program, focusing mostly on poetry, and he holds a M.A. in English from the University of Southern California—where he studied topics related to 19th and 20th century African American literature, migration and culture. His work has appeared in journals including Big Muddy, Juked, New American Writing, Yemassee Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Redivider, and LUMINA. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review.

Meet Our Teachers

Our teachers have spent years as committed writers learning the ins and outs of the craft. With passion, humor, insight, and sensitivity, they bring their wide-ranging knowledge into the classroom. They know how to spark creativity, lead a range of discussions (from the literary to the personal), and offer constructive and compassionate feedback.

  • Alison Luterman
    Alison Luterman

    Alison Luterman

    Alison Luterman has been shamelessly telling tales from her own life ever since she could grip a sweaty pencil. She has published essays in The Sun, Modern Love, L.A. Review, Radiance, Response, The East Bay Express, The Boston Phoenix and Salon. She has also written an e-book of essays entitled Feral City, about midlife domestication, remarriage, and second chances (available from SheBooks). Alison is also the author of three books of poetry: The Largest Possible LifeSee How We Almost Fly, and Desire Zoo. Last but not least, she writes plays, including Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Glitter and Spew, and a musical, The Chain.

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  • Andy Touhy
    Andy Touhy

    Andy Touhy

    Andy Touhy, a recipient of the San Francisco Browning Society’s Dramatic Monologue Award and Fourteen Hills’ Bambi Holmes Fiction Prize, is also a nominee for inclusion in Best New American Voices. In 2016 his story manuscript, The Secret of Mayo, was named the finalist for BOA Editions’ Short Fiction Prize. Work from the collection has appeared in journals such as Conjunctions, New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Colorado Review, Eleven Eleven, and The Collagist. He holds graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and has taught at SFSU, Academy of Art, and Ohio University. He lives in Oakland with his wife and child.

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  • Anne Raeff
    Anne Raeff

    Anne Raeff

    Anne Raeff‘s second novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, was published in February 2018 by Counterpoint Press. Her short story collection, The Jungle Around Us, won the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and her stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica among other places. Because her parents were both refugees from the Holocaust and war and because of her penchant for travel, her work is often set far away, both in time and space, from the New Jersey suburbs where she grew up. She is proud to be a high school teacher and works primarily with recent immigrants.

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  • Arisa White
    Arisa White

    Arisa White

    Cave Canem graduate fellow Arisa White received her MFA from UMass, Amherst, and is the author of Black PearlPost Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. She is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at Colby College and is a member of the board of directors for Nomadic Press. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing that Happened, published by Augury Books, was a nominee for the 29th Lambda Literary Award.

     

     

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  • Ben Jackson
    Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson

    Ben Jackson has been the director of The Writing Salon since March 2016. He has taught at a wide range of colleges, schools, and retreat centers, including the University of San Francisco and the Esalen Institute. His writing has appeared in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, FIELD, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he has won awards and fellowships from the Tor House Foundation, Warren Wilson College, Vermont Studio Center, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Jentel Artist Residency Program.

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  • Brian Tierney
    Brian Tierney

    Brian Tierney

    Brian Tierney is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. He is a graduate of the Bennington College’s MFA Writing Seminars, and holds a BA in English and Journalism, as well as an MA in Literature, from Duquesne University, where he was a teaching fellow and, later, an adjunct instructor in Literature and Composition. Brian’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in: Kenyon Review, FIELD, Poetry Northwest, Gettysburg Review, Best New Poets, AGNI, The Rumpus, and others. In 2013, Narrative magazine named him among its “30 Below 30” emerging writers.

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  • Cary Groner
    Cary Groner

    Cary Groner

    Cary Groner’s debut novel, Exiles (Spiegel & Grau / Random House), was a Chicago Tribune best book of 2011. His short stories have won numerous awards, including the Glimmer Train fiction open, and appeared there and in other venues that include American Fiction, Mississippi Review, Southern California Review, Sycamore Review, Tampa Review, Zymbol, and Salamander. Cary earned his MFA in 2009 from the University of Arizona, where he also taught undergraduate fiction writing. His students have been accepted at several prestigious MFA programs, including the University of Texas’s Michener Center, Johns Hopkins, the University of Montana, the University of Tampa, Antioch, and Vanderbilt.

    Cary Groner's Classes in Session:

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  • Daniel Ari
    Daniel Ari

    Daniel Ari

    Daniel Ari delights in writing, performing and teaching poetry. His book One Way to Ask (Norfolk Press, 2016) comprises original poems in a new form called queron, illustrated in collaboration with 67 artists including Roz Chast, R. Crumb, Wayne White and Bill Griffith. Poet laureate of Richmond, California, Daniel created and produced the 2017 Richmond Anthology of Poetry, the city’s first, representing 62 diverse voices from his adopted hometown. Daniel’s poems have been published in Poet’s Market, Writer’s Digest, McSweeney’s, Defenestration, carte blanche, Thema, and many others, and he has published essays on the craft of poetry in Poet’s Market every year since 2015. He supports his poetic life through his career as a marketing copywriter where he has written haiku for Google. For pay.

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  • David Jacobson
    David Jacobson

    David Jacobson

    David Jacobson started writing for newspapers at age 15 in 1979. While earning his journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, he served as sports editor and general columnist at Minnesota Daily. Throughout the ‘90s, David wrote and edited trade journals, and at the turn of the millennium he turned his focus to marketing communications content, including blogs, op-ed articles, press releases, and first-person point-of-view pieces. From 2005-2017, David produced thousands of such items as the marketing and communications lead for the non-profit Positive Coaching Alliance and now does so as sole proprietor of Inkflow Communications.

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  • Elaine Beale
    Elaine Beale

    Elaine Beale

    Elaine Beale’s second novel, Another Life Altogether, was published by Random House in 2010. It has received praise from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary, Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly, among others, and it was featured in Oprah Magazine. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing for more than a decade.

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  • Gila Lyons
    Gila Lyons

    Gila Lyons

    Gila Lyons‘ work has appeared in SalonCosmopolitan, Refinery29Vox, The Huffington Post, GOOD Magazine, The Rumpus, The Morning News, Ploughshares, Brevity, and other publications, and has been shared and reviewed at New York MagazineLongreads, Vela, and anthologized in books and collections. She holds an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University, teaches writing and literature, and is at work on a memoir about seeking a natural cure for anxiety and panic disorder but falling prey to the underbelly of the alternative health movement. Links to published work can be found at www.gilalyons.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Heather June Gibbons
    Heather June Gibbons

    Heather June Gibbons

    Heather June Gibbons is the author of the poetry collection Her Mouth as Souvenir, winner of the 2017 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Sore Songs and Flyover, and her poems appear widely in literary journals. She received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Callen Graduate Scholar, and she has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. An award-winning instructor who has taught at a number of universities, she teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University, and in the community.

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  • Jay Ridler
    Jay Ridler

    Jay Ridler

    Jason S. Ridler is a writer, improv actor, and historian. He is the author of A TRIUMPH FOR SAKURA, BLOOD AND SAWDUST, the Spar Battersea thrillers and the upcoming BRIMSTONE FILES series for Nightshade Press. He’s published over sixty stories in such magazines and anthologies as The Big Click, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Out of the Gutter, and more. He also writes the column FXXK WRITING! for Flash Fiction Online. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Jay holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.

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  • Julie Bruck
    Julie Bruck

    Julie Bruck

    Julie Bruck’s four collections of poems are How To Avoid Huge Ships (2018), Monkey Ranch (2012), The End of Travel (1999), and The Woman Downstairs (1993). Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Plume, The Walrus, The New Quarterly, The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, and The New Yorker. Her awards include two Gold Canadian National Magazine Awards, and the 2012 Governor General’s Award for Poetry (Canada’s equivalent of a National Book Award). She has taught at Canadian universities, and was a resident faculty member at The Robert Frost Place and a guest writer at Vanderbilt University. She has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others. A former Montrealer, Julie has lived in San Francisco since 1997.

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  • Junse Kim
    Junse Kim

    Junse Kim

    Junse Kim, like many Writing Salon students, didn’t begin to pursue a writing life until well after graduating from college. Before ever taking a writing class, he worked as a concert promoter, Peace Corps volunteer, managerial consultant, scriptwriter, nonprofit fundraiser, and “full-time” temp. He has since received a Pushcart Prize (for his short story “Yangban”), a Faulkner Award, and the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. His fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in the Ontario Review, ZYZZYVA, and Cimarron Review, as well as two anthologies: Pushcart Prize XXVII and Echoes Upon Echoes: New Korean American Writing.

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  • Kate Montgomery
    Kate Montgomery

    Kate Montgomery

    Kate Montgomery is best known for her award-winning Native American comedy Christmas in the Clouds, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival and went on to win top prizes in Austin & Santa Fe. Her credits also include the digital indie Ever Since the World Ended, which won the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and London Sci Fi Film Festival. Kate’s current projects include the San Francisco-based comedy series Neither Here Nor There, the dramatic feature Outerlands, and her own romantic comedy Hooking Up Hannah. A member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, Kate has optioned and sold screenplays to studios and producers in the US, UK & Canada and works as a writing coach, story editor and marketing consultant for industry clients in the US and abroad.

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  • Katharine Harer
    Katharine Harer

    Katharine Harer

    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.

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  • Kathleen McClung
    Kathleen McClung

    Kathleen McClung

    Kathleen McClung is the author of two poetry collections, The Typists Play Monopoly and Almost the Rowboat. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies including Southwest Review, Naugatuck River Review, Mezzo Cammin, The MacGuffin, Forgotten Women, Sanctuary, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove, Morton Marr, Shirley McClure, and Maria W. Faust national poetry prizes, she is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition, she has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, The Writing Salon, and other colleges and has taught/advised student teachers in the credential program at Mills College. For ten years she has directed Women on Writing: WOW Voices Now on the Skyline campus. In 2018-2019 she is a writer-in-residence at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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  • Kathy Garlick
    Kathy Garlick

    Kathy Garlick

    Kathy Garlick’s poetry and prose have appeared in Art and Ideas, Fourteen Hills, Field, and other publications. Her chapbook of poems, The Listening World, was published by Momotombo Press at St. Mary’s College. Kathy currently teaches creative writing and academic writing at University of San Francisco and creative writing and literature in the English Master’s program at Holy Names University.

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  • Kerry Muir
    Kerry Muir

    Kerry Muir

    Kerry Muir‘s creative nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. Her essay collection, BLUR & Other Essays, was recently named one of three finalists in Bauhan Publishing’s 2017 Monadnock Essay Collection Prize, and her essay, “Blur,” is a notable in Best American Essays 2018. Kerry’s plays have received honors and awards from Sundance Theater Lab, Nantucket Short Play Festival and Competition, The Great Platte River Playwrights Festival, The Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, Trustus Theater Festival, and she has optioned and sold screenplays to producers in the US & Mexico. Her award-winning play, The Night Buster Keaton Dreamed Me, will be published in both English and Spanish by No Passport Press in late 2018. A graduate of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program, she has led writing workshops for teens at Children of the Night.

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  • Kevin Dublin
    Kevin Dublin

    Kevin Dublin

    Kevin Dublin is author of the chapbook How to Fall in Love in San Diego (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and editor of Etched Press. He enjoys making video adaptations of poetry and working with emerging artists and writers. His words have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in North Carolina Literary Review, Rogue Agent, and Poetry International. He holds an MFA from San Diego State and has taught in community as well as youth programs and colleges, including Duke University and Litquake’s Elder Writing Project. Follow him on Twitter @PartEverything.

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  • Laura Atkins
    Laura Atkins

    Laura Atkins

    Laura Atkins is a children’s book author, editor, and teacher. She has edited books for over twenty years, taught undergraduate and MA-level children’s writing at the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature in London, and received top evaluations when running the MG/YA workshop at the Mendocino Writer’s Conference. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton University in London, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. The author of a picture book, Sled Dog Dachshund, and co-author of a MG biography, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, Laura lives in Berkeley with her daughter and their dog.

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  • Lori Ostlund
    Lori Ostlund

    Lori Ostlund

    Lori Ostlund’s novel After the Parade (Scribner, 2015) was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was a finalist for the 2016 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her first book, a story collection entitled The Bigness of the World, won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the 2009 California Book Award for First Fiction. Stories from it appeared in the Best American Short Stories and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Scribner reissued the collection in early 2016. Lori received the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Most recently, her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Southern Review, and the Kenyon Review.

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  • Lyzette Wanzer
    Lyzette Wanzer

    Lyzette Wanzer

    Lyzette Wanzer is a San Francisco writer, editor, and creative writing workshop instructor. She has taught at San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, San Francisco Writers’ Conference, the Mechanics’ Institute Library, and Mill Valley Library. Her work has appeared in over 20 literary journals. She is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2012), The Naked Truth, and San Francisco University High School Journal. Lyzette is the recipient of grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Creative Capacity Fund, and writing residencies in New York, Oregon, Nebraska, Virginia, Arkansas, and Alberta, Canada. She is currently at work on Jaywalking, an essay collection.

     

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  • Mark Wallace
    Mark Wallace

    Mark Wallace

    Mark Wallace has been a freelance journalist since 1998. His feature writing, news and profiles have appeared in The New York Times magazine, The New Yorker, the weekend Financial Times, New York magazine, GQ, Salon.com, The Philadelphia Independent, and many others. His book with Peter Ludlow (The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, from MIT Press) was one of the first serious mainstream accounts of the social, commercial, and political impact of virtual worlds and online games. Find him on Twitter at @markwallace, and visit http://www.boyreporter.com for a selection of past work.

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  • Maxine Rose Schur
    Maxine Rose Schur

    Maxine Rose Schur

    Maxine Rose Schur is an award-winning author of books for young people. As the recipient of the Joan G. Sugarman Award, she was the Baker-Nord Guest Lecturer on Writing for Children to the Humanities faculty at Case Western Reserve University. Her evocative rendering of daily life in an Ethiopian village, Day of Delight, won the 1994 Parent’s Choice Award and was read by Gregory Hines on National Public Radio and recorded on CD. Its sequel, When I Left My Village, won her the first of her two Sydney Taylor Awards for most outstanding contribution to Jewish Children’s Literature. Her latest book, Marielle in Paris, tells of the brave adventure of a fashion designer mouse.

     

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  • Nate Klug
    Nate Klug

    Nate Klug

    Nate Klug earned a BA in English at the University of Chicago and a Masters from Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Rude Woods, a modern translation of Virgil’s Eclogues (The Song Cave, 2013), and Anyone, a book of poems (The University of Chicago Press, 2015). His writing has been supported by the Poetry Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the James Merrill House. His poems, translations, and essays can be found in Poetry, Threepenny Review, Image, Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry 2018, and elsewhere. A UCC-Congregationalist minister, Nate has served churches in Connecticut, Iowa, and right here in California.

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  • Nayomi Munaweera
    Nayomi Munaweera

    Nayomi Munaweera

    Nayomi Munaweera’s debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize, short-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and won the Commonwealth Prize for Asia. Her second critically acclaimed novel, What Lies Between Us, won the Sri Lankan National Book Award. Munaweera is widely anthologized in collections such as Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian-American Women on Obedience and Rebellion, Oakland Noir, Many Roads Through Paradise, and All the Women in My Family Sing. She teaches at Mills College and at the Ashland University low-residency MFA Program.

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  • Phil Beauman
    Phil Beauman

    Phil Beauman

    Phil Beauman began his Hollywood career getting hired over the phone to write for In Living Color. According to Phil: “I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t have any Hollywood connections, I just kept mailing in sketches because I loved the show.” After writing on In Living Color with the Wayans family, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, etc… Phil was asked by the Wayans family to co-write the hit film, Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. And later, the first Scary Movie. He was also supervising producer on The Wayans Brothers and co-creator and co-executive producer of Nickelodeon’s number one live action show, Cousin Skeeter. He has sold scripts to every studio in Hollywood including Disney, Paramount, DreamWorks, Fox, and Warner Bros. He has been a guest lecturer on screenwriting at U.C.L.A. and U.S.C. Film Schools, the world-renowned Hollywood Screenwriting Expo, and the Final Draft Script Writer’s Showcase.

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  • Rob Williams
    Rob Williams

    Rob Williams

    Rob Williams teaches Creative Writing and English at Skyline College and has led writing workshops at San Diego Writers Ink on flash fiction and creative nonfiction. His essays and fiction have appeared in Maisonneuve Magazine, Versal, 400 Words, San Diego Citybeat Magazine and various anthologies including I Do/I Don’t and Foolish Hearts. He is the co-editor of the Lambda Literary Award-nominated anthology From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up and has received writing fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and Fishtrap. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and worked as a Poetry Reader for W. W. Norton in New York City.

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  • Steve Mitchel
    Steve Mitchel

    Steve Mitchel

    Steve Mitchel earned a B.A. in political science from Stanford University, a J.D. from Northwestern University and an MFA in fiction writing from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He’s led writing workshops for adults throughout the Bay Area and tutors 3rd graders in reading and writing at John Muir Elementary in San Francisco. The recipient of the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize for his story “Dog People,” he recently completed his first novel.

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  • Tongo Eisen-Martin
    Tongo Eisen-Martin

    Tongo Eisen-Martin

    Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker, educator, and poet who has organized around issues of human rights and self-determination for oppressed people throughout the United States. His curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people titled “We Charge Genocide Again,” has been used as a teaching and organizing tool throughout the country. His poems have been published in Harper’s Magazine and the New York Times Magazine. His book someone’s dead already was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book of poems Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won the California Book Award and the American Book Award.

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Writing is a very solitary occupation. My students inspire me to keep going. There is a wonderful range: beginners, people who have written in an academic setting but lost their creativity, older adults who never found their creative voices. I love seeing them give themselves permission to play. It gives me permission to do it myself.

Elaine Beale, Writing Salon Teacher

Hear from Our Students

Lawyers, entrepreneurs, photographers, taxi drivers, psychologists, journalists, retired folks, folks in between jobs or just out of college—people from all walks of life have taken classes at The Writing Salon. You don’t need to worry about fitting in. Anybody can be a writer, for any reason.

  • Marilyn J. Curry
    Marilyn J. Curry Clinical Social Worker

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    There are many valuable lessons I’ve learned from the WS, depending on where I was in my own development as a writer. In the beginning, with memoir writing, I learned the importance of “voice” in my writing. How to tell a good story, and also how to trust the process of “free writing”, to let the story come out and shape it later. Years later with novel writing, I had to learn technical skills, including the impact of choosing what POV to write my characters in, as well as the challenge of managing the scope of making a leap to something as large as a novel.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    The WS classes have provided a social place to bring the writing and meet other writers. Writing can be isolating and the WS classes provide some informal social support to give and receive encouragement, as well as an opportunity to learn from each other.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    In the several novel writing classes I’ve taken at WS over the past couple of years, the critique of my instructor was critical to my writing learning curve. There are many ways to get lost in the process of writing a novel. I felt that the expert knowledge of the craft and the practice of novel writing I received, helped me to avoid several of the pitfalls. I also found the practice of positive, helpful weekly feedback, from an assigned writing partner in class, encouraging and sustaining.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Emma Buls
    Emma Buls HR & Administration for a renewables company

    How many classes have you taken at The Writing Salon? And which ones, as far as you remember?

    Many! I started with Jenny Pritchett's You Should Write That Down! and then Kathleen McClung's Intro to Memoir class and have followed up with five or six sessions of Memoir Continuation. I've also taken several day classes: Jenny Pritchett's submissions class (can't remember the actual title), Dianne Jacob's Will Write For Food, Lisa Alpine's Travel Writing class. I'm currently in the Daily Write Round Robin with Kathy Garlick.

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    I've learned to trust myself more and take more risks in my writing. This thinking has seeped into other areas of my life.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    I write every day now. Every day! I submitted to and won first place in memoir at the Soul Making Keats Writing Competition in 2015 and took third place and honorable mention in 2016. I have several pieces, both memoir and short story, that I plan to submit to several publications. The goal is to be published.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Sam Jacobs
    Sam Jacobs Lawyer/Yoga Teacher

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    The classes I took at the Salon were my first exposure to workshop critique and participating in the creative process with other students. I felt as the sessions progressed, I read work (mine and others) more critically, saw areas for growth and clarity, and identified how to better help my peers by asking questions.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    The community at the Salon during both workshops was inspiring and wonderfully supportive. I felt encouraged to find so many people who did not define themselves as writers per se being writers.

    Are there classes and events that you’d like to see us run at The Writing Salon?

    I love the reading series. Please keep them up! The offerings so far have been very exciting and I look forward to taking another class soon.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Chris Ernest Hall
    Chris Ernest Hall Writer

    What steps did you take to become a committed writer?

    I go to the cafe every day without my phone.

    How has The Writing Salon community impacted your personal and creative life?

    A great deal. I have made new friends, rebooted and re-invigorated my writing career.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    Mostly quite positively! I had no idea what to expect, but I've found the quality of instruction and feedback to be quite high.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Inspiring.

  • Lillian Schroth
    Lillian Schroth Journalist/Communications Director

    What steps did you take to become a committed writer?

    I established my own strict structure and deadlines.

    What are your most valuable lessons from your Writing Salon experience?

    Let go of perfection and play. Keep writing and the screenplay will slowly take shape.

    If applicable, how have you felt about the peer and instructor critiques that you have received at The Writing Salon? Please explain.

    They were great and provided very constructive criticism and a tremendous amount of encouragement and support.

    Describe The Writing Salon in one word.

    Rare.

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