I teach writing, primarily at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and Stanford Continuing Studies, and primarily memoir writing and personal essay.

Now, in Grass Valley, CA, I offer high-quality in-person writing classes, limited to eight students per class, at my school: Yuba Writers’ Workshops. Click here for current and upcoming offerings.

I also teach and coach one-on-one, and offer intensive editorial consultation, when I feel I’m a good fit for the particular writer and his or her sensibilities and project. If you are interested in one-on-one work, you can contact me at rachel dot howard at gmail dot com.


I have taught for nine years for Stanford Continuing Studies, and earned a perfect “5” in student course evaluations three quarters in a row.

I taught a Craft of Nonfiction seminar, focused on image, as a Visiting Writer in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California. That syllabus is here: saint-marys-syllabus.

Classes I have taught in the undergraduate program at Warren Wilson College:
–Advanced Fiction (I was especially pleased with the results of this class, which I built around the idea of “omniscience”; you can view the syllabus and reading schedule here: wri-311-syllabus.)
–Creative Nonfiction
–Advanced Creative Nonfiction (syllabus here: wri-316-s13-final)
–Arts Criticism
–College Composition

Student Responses:

I’ve been very fortunate to teach many open, intelligent, and committed writers, and to witness their progress. A few recent testimonials:

It was wonderful studying creative writing with Rachel. She’s an engaging instructor with deep knowledge of craft and technique. Her in-class comments and paper edits were carefully considered and insightful, and helped me polish work that was eventually published. I continue to use the lessons I learned in class in my writing today.

— Arvin Temkar

Rachel is an amazingly thoughtful, exacting, caring instructor. Her readings and assignments were thought-provoking and well selected and feedback, analogous. She facilitated discussion with an even balance of pushing where it was necessary and stepping-back when it was better for the writers to flush things out themselves. Rachel is persistently professional and establishes a community where writing, and the purpose of it, is the foremost concern. But: she has a sense of humor and is totally personable, which made everything a lot more fun.

–Kristin Keane

Some unsolicited feedback:

“Your generosity and acute comments to everyone really impressed me . . . Looking back on my own erratic but unending writing education, including earning an MFA along the way when I worked in book publishing, I can say that your class amazed me in its patient, comprehensive, elegant coverage of the most important elements of craft. I kept thinking, These students don’t know what they’re getting! But they did, they knew, or sensed. For me, it was the best writing class I have ever taken, including in two graduate programs. But, as they say, when the student is ready the teacher appears. You were that teacher for me, Rachel.”

“Your feedback is so chock full of wisdom and insight; I know I will be reading it over and over as I go forward . . . I can’t thank you enough for the guidance this term . . . Thanks for helping me take myself seriously.”

“Thanks once again for forcing me to face the deeper issues in my stories . . . You keep me on track.”

“I was really looking forward to your feedback because you seem to have a talent few do – namely, an ability to be honest with your feedback.”

“I’ll write this feedback on the course evaluation, but I wanted to tell you that I’ve learned so much from you about teaching and giving feedback on writing. You have such a gift of making each individual want to continue writing.”