I’ve been heartened by the immediate interest in the “better than a book club” gathering I’m organizing during Yuba Lit’s hiatus: “Reading Chekhov for Our Times.” Our first gathering is coming up on Friday, January 18th. After some reflection, I’ve decided to offer this guided gathering as a community-based class, in the same manner that yoga studios offer weekly community classes. That means payment for the class will be by voluntary donation, with a suggested donation of $15-$25 per session. I’d like this class to be accessible to all–no donation is too small. But I do need RSVPs, because the room can only hold ten participants

Our first story, for the January 18th gathering, will be Chekhov’s best-known classic, “The Lady with the Dog,” accompanied by sections of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Notes on Russian Literature.” We’ll be using the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volohnksy translation of Chekhov’s stories, now available at Harmony Books in Nevada City. (This edition: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/26684/selected-stories-of-anton-chekhov-by-anton-chekhov/9780553381009/)

Below you’ll find full information on our Chekhov gatherings. I hope you can join us. Please don’t let finances be a barrier!

I am also teaching fee-based classes in memoir and novel writing beginning in late January. You can view all of those offerings at http://www.yubawritersworkshops.comwww.yubawritersworkshops.com.

Yours in literature,


Community class offered on a donation basis:

Better Than a Book Club: Reading Chekhov for Our Times

Friday afternoons, noon-1:30 p.m., January 18th, February 22nd, March 22, May 17, and June 14 2019.


Why do so many writers read the stories of Anton Chekhov with near-religious devotion? Writing in late 19th century Russia, a contemporary of Tolstoy, Chekhov invented a new kind of story—the short story that explores irresolvable questions of human experience rather than delivering pat morals. His stories, which can be both hilarious and heartbreaking, cultivate compassion and an awareness of the bittersweet ironies of life’s continual passing. In this “better than a book club,” we’ll read a single Chekhov short story each month, paired with an insightful commentator by Chekhov admirers such as Francine Prose, Robert Hass, and Siddhartha Mukherjee. Discussion will be lead by Rachel Howard, novelist and writing teacher, but with a light touch allowing for all to contribute. You are welcome to attend each session separately, or sign up for all four for a discount. Tea and treats will be served. Please note, we will not hold a session in April. Let’s come together and see how Chekhov might give us the sustenance we need in compassion-challenged times.

Cost: These discussions of Chekhov are being offered as a community class by voluntary donation. Suggested donation: $15-25 per session.

Class location: Alpha Building, 204 W. Main St., Grass Valley, in the conference room across from the yoga studio.

Contact Rachel at rachel.howard@gmail.com for registration information.

Instructor Bio: Rachel Howard teaches creative writing primarily at Stanford Continuing Studies and the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. She is the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night, which the New York Times praised as “enthralling.” Her novel, The Risk of Us, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times’ “Draft” series. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College, and later served there as Interim Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing. She has also taught in the MFA program of Saint Mary’s College. She moved to Nevada City in 2014 and is founder and producer of the Yuba Lit reading series.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.