Registration Closed: 1 Day Creative Writing Workshop

Tired of the campaign rhetoric, hate-speech and insult? Do something different with the English language! Come to workshop! Let's spend 3 hours focusing on truthful, powerful, beautiful prose.


The Format
We'll do short, simple generative writing exercises in class and then listen carefully to 4 pages each participant brings in from home, offering thoughtful, constructive critique. Class atmosphere is intellectual rigor combined with emotional safety.  Limited to 10 participants from all levels, novice to award-winners. Please bring a laptop or paper to do the exercises and 11 copies of your own work: double spaced, numbered, 4 pages.  Open to writers working in any prose form: fiction, memoir, non-fiction, biography, creative non-fiction, academic prose.

The Philosophy
"Many creatures must make, but only one must seek within itself what to make," (Frank Bidart). We are that creature. We alone must make objects of meaning. Bring what you have to this writing workshop: the opening line of a story, a novel excerpt, an idea. Find what you are trying to make. Get started. Go deeper into what you have. See more clearly the finishing touches you must now do. Take a step toward more powerful, truthful and beautiful work.

The Instructor
Mary Rakow, Ph.D., comes to fiction from theology. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Boston College, she is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. Her newly released novel, This is Why I Came, (December, 2015) is heralded as a “Blakean tour de force” and has received critical praise in The Atlantic, Boston Globe, Washington Post, O Magazine, Ploughshares (blog), Christian Century and O Magazine. The Memory Room, her first novel, was shortlisted for the Stanford University Libraries Saroyan Prize and other honors. Her commissioned non-fiction work, Martinez Celaya, Working Methods, is the first comprehensive study of the astonishing Cuban-born visual artist.

“Mary Rakow is a breathtaking writer and passionate teacher.”
— Sam Dunn, Failing Paris.

“Rakow is a brilliant writer and legendary editor.”
— Ilya Kaminsky, Dancing in Odessa.

Please visit for reviews of the new work and for editing, 1-to-1 coaching, etc.

Click here to register


Saturday, September 17, 2016

1 PM – 4 PM 
Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Club 
57 Post Street, SF 94104 (at Montgomery St. BART stop)
(415) 393-0101 

$30 Members
$40 Non-Members


RSVP required as space is limited.  

For questions please contact Mary at