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“Writers often think of setting as simply the place and time in which events occur,” says instructor Lori Ostlund. “But in this class we will focus on setting as a way to shape and reveal a character,” says co-instructor Anne Raeff.

Throughout the day we will explore the ways that setting can be used to isolate or challenge a character, leading to conflict and even transformation. We will look at examples from short stories and novels and will engage in a series of writing prompts that are meant to help participants rethink their relationship to setting, by both de-familiarizing a familiar place and getting inside a “foreign” setting.

“The class is meant to be generative and practical,” say instructors Lori and Anne. We will discuss some of the obstacles that can come with writing about settings that one does not know intimately, whether it be a different time period, country, or even world. In doing so, we will delve into the roles of research and imagination in bringing a setting to life.

Writers of all levels and backgrounds are welcome!



    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.

    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.

  1. Saturday, October 27, 10:00am-4:00pm


Saturday, October 27, 2018
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm PDT
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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