Loading Events

“By writing memoir and personal essays, we give form to our histories and make something of meaning and beauty that is uniquely ours,” says instructor Katharine Harer. “I love this genre because you can be yourself, complete with your idiosyncrasies, strong opinions, flashes of wisdom and crazy moments. You can write about that time you got locked inside a porta potty at the Roman Colosseum, or how you learned to make plum jam from your grandfather, or your first kiss in fourth grade.”

In this nine-week class, we’ll do generative writing exercises and optional homework assignments geared toward creating vivid scenes and characters, using fresh sensory details, and identifying our distinct voices, all of which are so important in making memoir and personal essays come alive. We’ll take inspiration from a variety of nonfiction writers—Ann Patchett, Ta-Nehisi Coates, David Sedaris and Maggie Nelson, among others—and practice giving and receiving encouraging, constructive feedback to develop and deepen our writing.

By the end of the nine weeks, you’ll take home the tools you’ll need to continue writing memoir and personal essays, as well as at least one completed short draft and seeds for the development of several more.



    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 private workshop instructor. Katharine has published six collections of poetry, the most recent, Jazz & Other Hot Subjects, in 2016. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published widely in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. Her most recent travel essay, Delle Donne, appears in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2016, from Travelers’ Tales. She’s currently working on a personal travel essay about Bali.

  1. Monday, January 14, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Monday, January 21, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Monday, January 28, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Monday, February 4, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Monday, February 11, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  6. Monday, February 18, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  7. Monday, February 25, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  8. Monday, March 4, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  9. Monday, March 11, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • I found Katharine's teaching style empathetic and helpful. She was always about improving, no matter what level we were at. 

  • I think Katharine is a great teacher. She gives everyone respectful, individual attention. She lets everyone have their own opinion and encourages us to listen to each other with the same empathy.

    Allison Payne


Monday, January 14, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
Monday, March 11, 2019 @ 9:30 pm
Event Category:


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
+ Google Map


12 available
Your Story, Your Life: Memoir & Personal Essays$475.00San Francisco

Please fill in all required fields

Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Refund Policy

There is a cancellation fee of 15% included in each registration. The Writing Salon will not issue a refund if a cancellation occurs within 48 hours of the class start time.

The Writing Salon cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Start typing and press Enter to search