Hello Writing Salon,

I recently completed a nine-week personal essay course with Alison Luterman. Alison led the classes skillfully. She quickly established safety in the group, presented interesting and inspiring articles by other writers, and gently facilitated group discussions (encouraging us to listen without judgement and making sure each person had an opportunity to speak). She also generously shared her knowledge as a writer and gave kind and helpful (and sometimes challenging) feedback about our personal writing.

I highly recommend her classes to any writer, both experienced and new.

Kind regards
Kaye Cleave

Hi Alison,

I understand what you’re saying about how hard it can be to take a class after you’ve been a teacher, and I’ve felt that in other classes, but not yours [Write from Real Life]. You are so totally in command of what you do, I never had any doubt that what you were talking about would be useful. And you are very good at analyzing students’ stories and seeing right away the big weaknesses and making suggestions for how students could get around those weaknesses. I could see the depth of your experience as a writer showing through in those skills, and it was really impressive. I can do that for papers about Japanese history, but not for personal essays. I was too busy listening and learning from your critiques to notice the time. Every class seemed to be over in about 10 minutes. Thanks!



Alison, thank you so much for structuring such an awesome class. I LOVED mondays because of your class. I would come home Monday nights so awake and excited. I have a long list of short projects i want to work on, and your class gave me so many tools to motivate myself.

After struggling so much with my piece, though, i think personal essays is not my “niche” right now. Since I am such a visual writer, i thought screen writing might be fun to try. And I am horrible, horrible at writing dialogue, so I thought I would strengthen that element of my writing. I will be on the lookout for your classes offered in the spring. I would love, love to learn from you again!

I am not happy though that I loved your class so much that I decided to take three more writing classes.

Hope they are as amazing as yours!


Hi everyone,

It’s Chris from this past spring’s personal essays class.

I just found out that I will be in the “Readers Write” section of The Sun this coming August. I wrote on the prompt “Games” about playing backyard whiffle ball with my brother when we were kids.

Thanks to everyone for the inspiration. I wouldn’t have sent anything in if it weren’t for y’all!

Hope your writing is flowing…

Chris Malcomb (the guy in the crowd 🙂


Hi Jane,

I wanted to take the time to write to you and express how much I enjoyed Alison Luterman’s teaching style with its elements of warmth, candor and humor. She is exactly what I was looking for in a writing teacher. She made the classroom environment very “safe” for us as writers and readers. She gave us very solid, specific, yet kind, feedback. She encouraged everyone to participate, by being present and interested when others were talking . . . ”

Best regards,



I cannot describe what a wonderful personal essay writing class we had. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It was definitely a high point of my life. I loved the teacher and the students alike. And the personal essays they wrote were so touching and delicious.

Christina Walden


Alison’s class totally met my expectations.I also took her winter workshop, and it was as good. Different in some ways, which was a delight. What I loved best was the writing in response to prompt exercises during the first weeks or so. Great way to get going with my writing. Also loved the sharing of our writings, both the ones in response to prompts and the sharing of our essays. I continue to be delighted with the quality of the students. Their writing skills have been surprisingly good….and kept getting better. Am also touched by the intimacy that the group developed over time…thanks to Alison’s gentle, but firm guidance.

Alison’s teaching style is a delight. She is informal and warm. She guides the group very well and presents a variety of opportunities for expression that certainly helped me grow. I can’t think of anything I’d like to see changed.

Naneen Karraker

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