register_off-70x18.gifNine Sundays,  July 15th thru Sept. 22nd

(no class Sept. 2nd), 7-9:30 p.m. Berkeley
$315 members/$345 non-members

This class combines the energy and expertise of two of our favorite teachers, Suzy Parker and Alison Luterman. Suzy will help you get those creative juices flowing. She’ll rip through the nuts and bolts of the personal essay by presenting dozens of quick and clever exercises, and by examining your own and other people’s essays. "I like to pack as much into class as possible," says Suzy. "Students will leave every week with an abundance of new and imaginative ideas."

Alison will focus on helping you to identifying your personal themes, the stories you each return to tell, over and over again. "Every one of us is neck-deep in the middle of our own long and winding stories – stories that, when shared, can help us to bridge the gap between ourselves and the rest of the world," she says. "What’s wonderful about finding and honing these stories – about being a writer, in fact – is that it redeems everything, even the moment of burning shame when you flunked the driving test three times, even the fact that you could never decide what you wanted to be when you grew up. It reminds you that once you were twenty and limber and unafraid to sleep in the cornfield when hitchhiking across France. And, like the smell of fresh coffee or the first kiss of summer on your cheek, it heightens the senses. We’ll workshop your essays from the standpoint of craft, voice, and structure, using the techniques of fiction writing, playwriting, and even poetry to enliven your writing."

Suzy Parker has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, The Sun, Hope, the Chattahoochee Review,, ZYZZYVA and elsewhere. Her commentaries have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition and KQED’s Perspectives. She is a winner of the Richard J. Margolis National Literary Award, the California Independent Newspapers’ Writer Prize and the Best of the West Award for most outstanding columnist in a daily newspaper west of the Mississippi. The movie rights to her memoir, Tumbling After, have been optioned by HBO. Her personal essay column appears weekly in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

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, Radiance, Response, The East Bay Express, and The Boston Phoenix. Her book of poems, The Largest Possible Life, won The Cleveland State University Poetry Prize. She has taught poetry to thousands of school children through California Poets in the schools. The great love of her life is performing improvisational dance, singing, storytelling and poetry through the Wing It! performance ensemble. She has given workshops and readings around the country, and recently completed her first full-length play, Saying Kaddish with my Sister.

"Alison Luterman’s teaching style…."

"…touching and delicious…"

 "Thanks to everyone…"

"…I’ve already gotten my money’s worth!…"

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