Santa Barbara, CA March 9 & 10, 2019

Bigfork, Montana May 31--June 2, 2019

Turn your life experiences into literature as you discover the heart of your life story and become a part of a community of supportive writers. You’ll find your writing goals are respected and your perspective encouraged in my workshops.


Both aspiring and experienced writers benefit from the instruction and activities. Some experienced writers, perhaps stuck in their process, come for the new stimulation of the workshop setting.  Some are interested in writing narrative nonfiction for the first time (former journalists, poets, novelists, journal keepers).  Aspiring writers come to the workshop to find the motivation for becoming dedicated to the craft. In any case, you will be joining a community of supportive writers, some whom you may stay in touch with for years following the workshop. It happens in every session.


My instruction focuses on narrative nonfiction writing, sometimes called creative nonfiction—first-person writing that includes memoir, travel, food, and the personal essay. The majority of the workshop concerns the craft of writing via direct instruction and group workshopping. 

My work with writers emphasizes the narrator’s voice and role, structuring and organizing content, effective language.  Sessions include the analysis of published writing, in class writing exercises, learning to give and receive feedback.


Shorter workshops offer a jump-start and immediate inspiration so you can get underway composing your memories and experiences. Longer workshops offer more in-depth analysis of the genre and feature more complex techniques to develop and revise writing. 

Santa Barbara, Ca

Retreat details

bigfork, montana

retreat details​


Lisa A Gilbert,  Bigfork, Montana

I found Kathryn’s Memoir Writing Weekend Workshop in Santa Barbara to provide more techniques for the craft of non-fiction writing than I’ve received from other teachers at longer workshops. Kathryn’s wealth of knowledge, experienced teaching ability, kind heart, and witty sense of humor made for the perfect workshop ingredients.

Gretchen Givens, Martinez, CA

This memoir writing workshop was one of the best I have ever taken. Kathryn is congenial, highly qualified, and came loaded with handouts and useful information. For years, I have wanted to write a memoir, but didn’t know how to begin or put it into form. Kathryn’s training on structure has helped to organize my thoughts so I can begin. In addition to being instructive, the informal workshop was lots of fun.

Lana Jones, Laguna Beach, CA

Thank you, Kathryn, for all your expertise and inspiration. The writer’s group some of us formed from your workshop has been a wonderful experience. I am on my way to writing something of my own. Our workshop has been a wonderful boost for me on my journey.

Kathleen Mohn, Oakland, CA

Kathryn’s weekend writing workshop got me restarted on my writing project, which is to write essays about each of my five grandchildren as they grow up. I had been wallowing in laziness and not taking imitative, but now I’m eager to try out the structure and sentence techniques Kathryn showed our group that we applied to our in-class writing. Kathryn knows writing inside and out and appears to love passing on her knowledge. All of us finished the two days feeling enthusiastic and ready to move forward with our writing. 

Paul Dalmas, Kensington, CA

Kathryn is an exceptional writing teacher. I have taken several of her college classes and her local workshops in California. Through her advice and encouragement I have had my work published in Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle and California Magazine

Nancy Tengler, Phoenix, AZ 

From my initial determination to become a writer, Kathryn inspired, nudged and guided my writing, encouraging me to pursue an MFA. Now that I have finished my degree and am struggling with a large, unwieldy manuscript, I find her suggestions and focused guidance even more valuable to my development as a writer. Plus, she is a great deal of fun.