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Writer David Shields once said that what distinguishes essay from fiction is that essays offer the “drama of ideas” (whereas fiction presents “drama of action”). “Like most writers, I’ve got a head full of ideas bouncing around at all times,” says instructor Rob Williams. “The fun part is figuring out which one I want to explore in an essay first.”

In this 5-week course we’ll start with your own ideas, sourcing material for what will become a compelling, layered personal essay or short memoir piece. We’ll move through scene-building, tone and voice, character and setting—the various techniques for crafting short creative nonfiction—while reading short essays from writers such as Zadie Smith, Bernard Cooper, and Sarah Vowell, among others.

Rob says, “With fun, inventive writing exercises as well as in-class workshopping, you’ll learn how to turn personal anecdote into a fleshed-out, thoughtful, and impactful personal essay.”



No Instructor Specified

  1. Thursday, February 20, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Thursday, February 27, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Thursday, March 05, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Thursday, March 12, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Thursday, March 19, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • I enjoyed the writing exercises in "class" and the workshops. I found Rob's feedback to me and the other writers to be very helpful and a big part of the learning experience.

  • "I loved Rob's reading materials and just general encouragement and ease. The class exceeded my expectations across the board. I can't wait to take another."

    Erin N.


Friday, February 21, 2020 @ 3:00 am PST
Friday, March 20, 2020 @ 4:30 am PST
Event Category:


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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