I write fiction, personal essays, memoir, and dance criticism. My first novel, The Risk of Us, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt April 2019.

Photo by Emmet Cullen.

My first book was a memoir, The Lost Night. I was interviewed about the book by Ira Glass for an episode of This American Life; you can listen to that interview here. My fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, ZYZZYVA, Waxwing (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), O Magazine, OZY, Canteen, Berfrois, the Arroyo Literary Reviewand elsewhere, and is forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review of Books. If I had to pick one piece of representative writing, that would probably be this essay. In all my endeavors, I’m fascinated by faith in art, and in what happens when people are able–or forced–to shed social status and find unexpected freedom.

My journalism and dance writing has appeared in The New Yorker Online, the New York Times, Ballet Review, and the Hudson Review, among other publications. I wrote about dance for the San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, serving as chief Dance Correspondent for six of those. I also love to write about the craft of writing, as in this article in the AWP Writer’s Chronicle.

I live in the Sierra foothills these days, but have remained a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. I teach weekend writing classes at the Grotto and online at Stanford Continuing Studies. I also now teach live writing classes in Grass Valley; updated offerings can be found here. After receiving an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College, I served as Warren Wilson’s Joan Beebe Teaching Fellow, and then Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing. I have also served as Visiting Writer in the MFA Program at Saint Mary’s College of California and taught at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

To foster literary community in my new hometown of Nevada City, I founded a reading series called Yuba Lit; we’re proud to now be a fiscally sponsored project of the Nevada County Arts Council.


I love to sing. A while ago I had the great privilege to serve as cantor of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Oakland for an unforgettable spell that included all the services of Holy Week. I currently sing in Voces Angelorum, an all-women choir that chants the monastic evening service known as Compline in the Anglican tradition. Some Saturday nights you can still find me at my other church, The Alley, singing Tin Pan Alley tunes with Rod Dibble (and now Bryan Seet) and friends.

Thanks for visiting.

Mailing address:
Rachel Howard
San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
490 2nd St. Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94107

Literary representation:

Rob McQuilkin

Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents