I write memoir, fiction, personal essays, and dance criticism. My book The Lost Night, a memoir about the emotional aftermath of my father’s unsolved murder, received a lot of nice reviews, including this one that meant a great deal to me in the New York Times. I am currently writing a spiritual memoir about how singing at The Alley, a piano bar in Oakland, changed my life.  I think in all my endeavors, I’m fascinated by faith in art, and in what happens when people are able–or forced–to shed their social status and find unexpected freedom.

My fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, ZYZZYVA, Waxwing (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), OZY, Canteen, Berfrois, the Arroyo Literary Review, and elsewhere.

I wrote about dance for the San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, serving as chief Dance Correspondent for six of those.  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 also love to write about the craft of writing.

I live in the Sierra foothills these days, but have remained a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, a workspace co-op. I teach writing at the Grotto and frequently at Stanford Continuing Studies. 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 served as Visiting Writer in the MFA Program at Saint Mary’s College of California for the fall of 2015.

To foster literary community in my new hometown of Nevada City, I founded a bi-monthly reading series called Yuba Lit.


I do like to dance. But these days, 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 friends.

Thanks for visiting.

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