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. In 2017, Blue Light Press published her posthumous collection of poems, When My Heart Goes Dark, I Turn the Porch Light On.

Ben Jackson

Executive Director

Ben Jackson has been the executive director since March 2016. 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, 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.

Kathy Garlick

Education Director

Kathy Garlick brings thirty years of experience teaching creative writing and literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Art and Ideas, Fourteen Hills, Field, Pool, and other publications. A chapbook of poems, The Listening World, was published by Momotombo Press at St. Mary’s College. Kathy received her M.F.A from Sarah Lawrence College and Ph.D. from the University of Houston. She currently teaches creative writing and academic writing at the University of San Francisco and Holy Names University.

Eda Goksel Jackson

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, son, and husband in Tilden Park. Oh and cappuccino, she loves cappuccino…

Kavita Srinivasan

Program Manager

Kavita Srinivasan has over a decade of experience in persuasive writing, campaign development, and communications management. She got her Masters in Creative Advertising from Queensland University of Technology (Australia) in 2008. Placed in some of the top global agencies, she developed creative campaigns for consumer goods, tech brands, and for public service. In 2014, she moved to San Francisco, and found it to be a goldmine of creative energy. Bay Area’s teachers, mentors, and samaritans nurtured her interest in fine arts, music, and storytelling. Later that year, she discovered Thingamajigs, a community of artists who use found objects to create music. She managed their events, communications, and supported Thingamajigs’ programs for many years. Today, Kavita lives in “Swaralaya (house of music)” with her partner and two children. Beyond life duties, she practices the flute, piano, writing, boxing, running, swimming. She also dreams of a year-long escape to New Zealand.

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.

  • Addie Tsai
    Addie Tsai

    Addie Tsai

    Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie has an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin. Unwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in August 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor and Editor of Features & Reviews at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

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    • Alan Chazaro
      Alan Chazaro

      Alan Chazaro

      Alan Chazaro is the author of This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and Piñata Theory (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). He is a graduate of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley and a former Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco. He is currently a creative writing adjunct professor in the Bay Area, and the co-founding editor at HeadFake. Find him on Twitter @alan_chazaro.

      Alan Chazaro's Classes in Session:

      No Current Classes

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      • Alison Luterman
        Alison Luterman

        Alison Luterman

        Alison Luterman is the author of four books of poetry, including In the Time of Great Fires and Desire Zoo, and an e-book of personal essays, Feral City. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Sun, Rattle, The Atlanta Review, Catamaran, and many other journals and anthologies. She also writes song lyrics, plays, and is interested in hybrid forms. She has been teaching at the Writing Salon for over twenty years, and has also taught through Poets in the Schools, at New College, at Esalen and Omega Institutes and at workshops and conferences around the country. To learn more, you can visit www.alisonluterman.net.

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        • Allison Landa
          Allison Landa

          Allison Landa

          Allison Landa is a Berkeley-based writer of fiction and memoir whose work has been featured in The Guardian US, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, among other venues. She is the author of BEARDED LADY, a memoir forthcoming from Woodhall Press. Landa holds an MFA in creative writing from St. Mary’s College of California and runs the On the Cusp reading series in San Francisco. She is represented by Marisa Zeppieri of Strachan Literary.

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          • Andy Touhy
            Andy Touhy

            Andy Touhy

            Andrew R. Touhy is the author of Designs for a Magician’s Top Hat, winner of the inaugural Yemassee Fiction Chapbook Prize. He is also a recipient of the San Francisco Browning Society’s Dramatic Monologue Award and Fourteen Hills Bambi Holmes Award for Emerging Writers. Stories from Secret of Mayo, his full-length collection and a finalist for the BOA Short Fiction Prize, have appeared in Conjunctions, New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, New American Writing, The Collagist, Colorado Review, and other literary magazines. He holds graduate degrees in literature and creative writing and has taught at SFSU, Academy of Art, and Ohio University.

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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.

                  Ben Jackson's Classes in Session:

                  No Current Classes

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                  • Brian Tierney
                    Brian Tierney

                    Brian Tierney

                    Brian Tierney is the author of Rise and Float, winner of the 20-2021 Jake Adam York Prize (Milkweed, forthcoming Feb. 2022). His poetry and prose have appeared in such journals as Paris Review, Kenyon Review, AGNI, NER, The Adroit Journal, and others. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and a graduate of the Bennington College MFA Writing Seminars, he was named among Narrative Magazine’s 2013 “30 Below 30” emerging writers, and is winner of the 2018 George Bogin Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America. Raised in Philadelphia, he lives in Oakland, Ca., where he teaches poetry at The Writing Salon.

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                    • David Jacobson
                      David Jacobson

                      David Jacobson

                      David Jacobson is sole proprietor of Inkflow Communications, which provides writing/editing services and marketing communications consulting to social impact organizations in the areas of youth development, sports/fitness, and DEI efforts. He has self-published Az der Papa (a YA coming-of-age novella), At the Cookout: A White Man’s Journey in Black America (memoir), and The Man Behind the Mask (collaboration with American Ninja Warrior athletes Flip Rodriguez and Noah Kaufman). David’s work is rooted in a journalism career that started at age 15 in 1979 and has included thousands of articles, op-eds, and blogs for his employers and clients.

                      David Jacobson's Classes in Session:

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                      • Elaine Beale
                        Elaine Beale

                        Elaine Beale

                        Elaine Beale has published two novels, the most recent of which, Another Life Altogether, was featured in Oprah Magazine and received praise from the Boston GlobeLambda Literary, and Publishers Weekly, among others. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her latest book is Write for Wellness, a guide to using expressive writing to promote emotional and physical health.

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                        • Erin Rodoni
                          Erin Rodoni

                          Erin Rodoni

                          Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her third poetry collection won the 2020 Southern Indiana Review Michael Waters Poetry Prize and was published in fall 2021. Her poems, stories, and reviews have been published in such places as Best New Poets, Poetry Northwest, World Literature Today, and Sixfold, among others. She has been the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize. When not writing, she enjoys travel and spending time outdoors with her daughters.

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                          • Erin Van Rheenen
                            Erin Van Rheenen

                            Erin Van Rheenen

                            Erin Van Rheenen, MFA, writes fiction and nonfiction with a special emphasis on the power of place. Her work has been anthologized and published in venues such as Atlas Obscura, The Los Angeles Times, The Sun, and Best Women’s Travel Writing. She loves to see her students surprise and delight themselves (and others!), whether she’s teaching at City University of New York, the San Francisco Women’s Jail, or The Writing Salon. After many years of living abroad (from Oaxaca to Quito to San Jose, Costa Rica), she now lives in San Francisco. She is also the author of Living Abroad in Costa Rica.

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                            • Jeff Chon
                              Jeff Chon

                              Jeff Chon

                              Jeff Chon is the author of the novel Hashtag Good Guy with a Gun, which New York Magazine called “sick and nasty and funny until page 247, which is the last one,” and praised in The New York Times, The Irish Times, The Scotland Herald, and The Times of London. His stories and essays have appeared in The Seneca Review, The North American Review, Barrelhouse, Best Small Fictions 2021, and many others. This Is the Afterlife, his short story collection, will be available in December of 2022.

                              Jeff Chon's Classes in Session:

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                              • Jennifer Lewis
                                Jennifer Lewis

                                Jennifer Lewis

                                Jennifer Lewis is a writer, editor, and the publisher of Red Light Lit. Her debut short story collection, The New Low, will be released Oct 2022 by Nomadic Press, where her short story, “New Low,” was the winner of the Bindle Award in 2018. In 2020, she won the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction Award for “Put a Teat in It.” She received her MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University in May 2015. She teaches at The Writing Salon in San Francisco.

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                                • Jessica Litwak
                                  Jessica Litwak

                                  Jessica Litwak

                                  Jessica Litwak, Ph.D, is an award-winning playwright and actor. She has written over 40 plays which have been produced throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Her work is published by No Passport Press, Smith & Krause, Applause Books and The New York Times. She is a Drama Therapist, puppet builder and recognized leader in the field of socially engaged theatre, Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective, core member of Theatre Without Borders, and a Fulbright Scholar. She has taught acting and playwriting at SF State, LA City College, Naropa, Whitman College, Columbia University, and NYU.

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                                  • Joan Gelfand
                                    Joan Gelfand

                                    Joan Gelfand

                                    Joan Gelfand is the author of You Can Be a Winning Writer: The 4 C’s of Successful Authors: Craft, Commitment, Community and Confidence, published by Mango Press. Joan’s publications also include three poetry collections, an award winning chapbook of short fiction and a forthcoming novel set in Silicon Valley. Her reviews, stories, essays and poetry have appeared in literary journals and magazines including the Los Angeles Review of Books, PANK!, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, The Toronto Review, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A member of the National Book Critics Circle and a juror for the Northern California Book Awards, Joan has been teaching the “4 C’s” approach at conferences and in classrooms for over ten years.

                                    Joan Gelfand's Classes in Session:

                                    No Current Classes

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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.

                                        Junse Kim's Classes in Session:

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                                        • Kate Montgomery
                                          Kate Montgomery

                                          Kate Montgomery

                                          Kate Montgomery wrote, directed and produced the award-winning Sundance indie rom-com Christmas in the Clouds. Her credits also include the comedy Neither Here Nor There, which is currently on the festival circuit, and the futuristic thriller Ever Since the World Ended, which won at the SF Indie Fest and the London Sci-Fi Film Festival. Current projects include Out There, Hooking Up Hannah, Jack from Camp and Stealing Lily. Kate has optioned and sold screenplays to producers and studios in the US, Canada and UK. She is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, The Writer’s Guild of Canada and the Writer’s Guild of America.

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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 as a private workshop instructor. Katharine has published seven collections of poetry, the most recent, Deconfliction, in 2020, and a full-length volume of poems, Jazz & Other Hot Subjects, in 2016. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published widely in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. Her travel essay Delle Donne appeared in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2016 and a personal essay, Blue Flags & Painted Crosses, is forthcoming from Sonora Review in Tucson.

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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 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. In late 2018, her award-winning play, The Night Buster Keaton Dreamed Me, was published in both English and Spanish by No Passport Press. 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.

                                                  Kevin Dublin's Classes in Session:

                                                  No Current Classes

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                                                  • Kilby Blades
                                                    Kilby Blades

                                                    Kilby Blades

                                                    Kilby Blades is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018, and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly). Kilby is a feminist, an oenophile, a cinephile, a social-justice fighter, and above all else, a glutton for a good story.

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                                                    • Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet
                                                      Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

                                                      Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

                                                      Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet is the author of The Greenhouse (Frost Place Chapbook Prize) and Tulips, Water, Ash (Morse Poetry Prize). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Blackbird, Kenyon Review, Plume, and Zyzzyva, in anthologies including Nasty Women Poets and The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and online at Poem-A-Day and Poetry Daily. In addition to leading workshops at Portland’s Literary Arts, Seattle’s Hugo House, and The Writing Salon, she hosts the Portland reading series Lilla Lit and Literary Bingo and works as a freelance editor of poetry and nonfiction. Before fleeing northward in search of writer-friendly rents, she taught in UC Berkeley’s Post-Baccalaureate Writing Program.

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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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                                                        • Maw Shein Win
                                                          Maw Shein Win

                                                          Maw Shein Win

                                                          Maw Shein Win’s poetry chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016 – 2018). Her full-length poetry collection, Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn), was long listed for the PEN America Open Book Award, nominated for a Northern California Book Award for Poetry, and short listed for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Golden Poppy Award for Poetry for 2021. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and was a Spring 2021 ARC Poetry Fellow at UC Berkeley.

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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 the Ashland University low-residency MFA Program.

                                                            Nayomi Munaweera's Classes in Session:

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                                                            • Preeti Vangani
                                                              Preeti Vangani

                                                              Preeti Vangani

                                                              Preeti Vangani is a poet and personal essayist. Born and raised in Mumbai, she is the author of Mother Tongue Apologize (RLFPA Editions), her first book of poems (selected as the winner of RL India Poetry Prize.) Her work has been published in BOAAT, Gulf Coast, Threepenny Review, among other journals. She is the Assistant Poetry Editor for Glass Journal, a Poet Mentor at Youth Speaks, and holds an MFA (Writing) from University of San Francisco.

                                                              Preeti Vangani's Classes in Session:

                                                              No Current Classes

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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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                                                                • Shelby Hinte
                                                                  Shelby Hinte

                                                                  Shelby Hinte

                                                                  Shelby Hinte is a writer and educator living in the Bay Area. She has led and supported writing workshops at San Francisco State University and in the community, including teaching creative writing to incarcerated adults and youth on juvenile probation. She received her MFA in Fiction from San Francisco State University where she was the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Graduate award. She is a contributing writer for Write or Die Tribe, and her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Maudlin House, Entropy, Vagabond Lit, Witness Magazine, Hobart, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a novel about women and vortexes in the desert.

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                                                                  • Steve Mitchel
                                                                    Steve Mitchel

                                                                    Steve Mitchel

                                                                    Steve Mitchel was awarded the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize for his story, “Dog People.” His story “The Return of the Capellmeister” was a finalist for LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction. He 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 fiction writing workshops throughout the Bay Area and has taught legal writing to law students at Northwestern and U.C. Berkeley.

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                                                                    • Thea Matthews
                                                                      Thea Matthews

                                                                      Thea Matthews

                                                                      Thea Matthews is a poet, author, and educator originally from San Francisco, California. She holds an MFA in poetry from New York University; and her work has appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Interim, Aster(ix) Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, The New Republic, and others. Her first book Unearth [The Flowers] (Red Light Lit Press, 2020) was listed as part of Kirkus Reviews’s Best Indie Poetry of 2020. She lives in Brooklyn. 

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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.

                                                                        Tongo Eisen-Martin's Classes in Session:

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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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