September 3, 2014
6:30 pmto8:30 pm

Michael Shapiro be teaching a three-evening class called A Sense of Place on Wednesdays at Book Passage (September 3, 10, 17) from 6:30 to 8:30. Michael says, “We’ll study the masters—Bryson, Cahill, Morris, Matthiessen, Iyer and Theroux—and discuss their techniques to improve our own writing. And there will be wine!”

Michael knows as much as anyone about creating a sense of place. In fact, he wrote the book on it! A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration. Plus, he’s a fun guy and a generous teacher. This should be an excellent class.

About the book: Great writers inspire readers to head out in search of foreign sunsets, but in this instance, they inspired travel writer Michael Shapiro to head out for the great writers themselves. A Sense of Place is one writer’s journey to visit all the heroes who have motivated him — to pack a pen and toothbrush, to find out where they live, why they chose the place, and how it influences their writing. In each scene, readers, writers, and travelers are given a glimpse of the locale and surroundings of the writer: Simon Winchester’s Massachusetts, Redmond O’Hanlon’s London, Jan Morris’s Wales, or Frances Mayes’s Tuscany. But then it’s left up to the writers themselves to situate the reader and describe their lives, their craft, and their remarkable world, which they do with living room intimacy. The result is engaging, illuminating, and transporting for writers and travelers alike.

Lavinia Spalding, award winning author and editor of  The Best Women's Travel Writing anthologiesLavinia Spalding, award winning author and editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing anthologies

This looks like a wonderful trip! November 10-15, 2014. Complete itinerary, pricing, extremely enticing photos, and other info here.

“The Inca Tale Writing Workshop in Peru: a six-day writing workshop for women, hosted by award winning travel author and anthology editor, Lavinia Spalding, at the “living Inca town” of  Ollantaytambo. You’ll spend five nights at Apu Lodge (named the best Posada in South America by the Guardian.UK ), take a train ride through the jungle to explore Machu Picchu, and you’ll have a Peruvian concierge/guide/translator (the owner of Peru Breathtaking Trips) for the entire expedition to pamper, entertain, educate, and offer up hidden adventures and new

K-KozaSo glad I came across this site, which offers trips especially for writers. “On each expedition you’ll journey with acclaimed writers and/or photographers, plus local travel experts who will immerse you in real culture and pamper you with hospitality. Writers’ Expeditions’ hosts write, edit, and photograph for National Geographic, Time, The Guardian UK, Yoga Journal, Outside, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Chatelaine, Random House, Travelers’ Tales, New York Times, Lonely Planet … and more.

“Each expedition will be themed and will be catered to suit the needs and desires of participants. Some trips will place stronger emphasis on workshop classes while others upon adventure.

August 14, 2014toAugust 17, 2014

Book-passage-confIt’s just around the proverbial corner! The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference has an extraordinary, international reputation among publishers, editors, and writers. Now in its 22nd year, this four-day Conference offers an array of writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more. There are hours of informal interaction between faculty and participants during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening.

April 21, 2014
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

WeekdayWanderlustMark your calendar for Monday April 21 and bring your virtual passports to the Hotel Rex (562 Sutter Street, San Francisco). You’ll enjoy this month’s line-up of three talented writers: Lisa Alpine, Andy Murdock, and Angie Chuang.

Readings start promptly at 7 p.m., but a group of thirsty travelers can always be found at the Hotel Rex Library Bar at 6 p.m. Come early, snag a seat, and say hello. As usual, emcee for the evening is the legendary—and dashing—Don George. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook.

May 2, 2014toMay 4, 2014

hotel-legerJoin the ninth annual Gold Rush Writers Conference, May 2, 3, & 4, at the historic Leger Hotel in picturesque Mokelumne Hill, where writing professionals will guide you to a publishing bonanza through a series of panels, specialty talks, workshops and celebrity lectures.

Go one-on-one with successful poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists and short story writers. The conference includes a picnic supper in a Victorian garden Friday evening, Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch.

This year’s featured speaker and workshop leader is Christian Kiefer, a full-time professor at American River College. His first published novel has garnered rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Christian will conduct a workshop “Flaubert’s Barometer: On Setting In Fiction” on Sunday.

MokuleiaCamp Mokule`ia on O`ahu’s North Shore

Here’s an incredibly inexpensive way to experience the best of Hawaii—a room with a view, all lodging and meals, presentations by Hawaiian cultural legends, excursions to sacred sites led by local experts, awesome private beach, far away from the tourist scene, live music, yoga … plus writing workshops and readings

The retreat is led by North Shore native Constance Hale, the author of Sin and Syntax, the editor of more than two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai`i appear on CD liner notes, as well as in publications like The Los Angeles Times and Smithsonian magazine.


What could be better than creating literature from your own experience—in Italy? Join instructor Kathryn Abajian to experience a step back in centuries and a step forward in awareness as she returns for a fifth year to the medieval hill town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, an enchanting and unspoiled gem located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Enjoy daily instruction, a private room, regional Abruzzese cuisine, local wines and cultural excursions with ItalyinOtherWords Memoir Writing and Cultural Retreat, June 15—21, 2014. Click the link for details, photos, endorsements and enrollment information.

February 18, 2014
5:30 pmto8:30 pm

adventuredrinksAdventure Drinks is an informal monthly happy hour for San Francisco Bay Area & Northern California adventure travel industry folks. Part of the global AdventureDrinks movement. 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month, which means the next event is on February 18th. Check the Adventure Drinks San Francisco Facebook page for the venue, which changes each month.

February 24, 2014
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

WeekdayWanderlustFebruary’s Weekday Wanderlust will be on the 24th, as usual at the Hotel Rex in San Francisco. Readings start promptly at 7 p.m., but you’ll find revelers in the Library Bar by 6 p.m.

Weekday Wanderlust has already posted info about one of the readers, “the charming and talented Dr. Marianne Rogoff. She is the author of the memoir “Silvie’s Life” and numerous travel stories, short fictions, essays, and book reviews. She teaches Writing & Literature at California College of the Arts and Dominican University. During winter and summer, Marianne leads weeklong Studio-Workshop trips for writers to exotic locales, including two awesome collaborations with Lavinia Spalding, co -founder of WW and the series editor of Best Women’s Travel Writing, in which many of Marianne’s stories have appeared. Please come give Marianne a warm Weekday Wanderlust welcome.”

January 29, 2014
6:30 pmto9:00 pm
Lavinia Spalding

Lavinia Spalding

Lavinia Spalding teaches travel writing at the San Francisco Grotto: “In this six-session workshop, you’ll write and revise a personal travel essay, then take steps to get it published. Along the way, we’ll cover the basics of narrative travel writing, from beginning to end, including structure, dialogue, setting, characterization, and story arc. You’ll develop and strengthen your writing voice, awaken your senses, and come to recognize your juiciest, most compelling material. In addition to writing and revising your own story, we’ll study published pieces and discuss what made these essays shine. This is a great opportunity to learn from a professional travel editor not only what an editor looks for in story submissions, but also the invaluable skill of viewing your own writing with an editor’s eye so you can make difficult but essential revisions.”

grottoThe Grotto’s Winter Session begins the week of January 19, 2014. No travel-specific classes, but doesn’t this list look good?

To be the first to hear about the Grotto’s frequently sold-out classes, subscribe to Grotto Class Notes, a monthly e-newsletter that includes writing tips from Grotto teachers.

January 13, 2014
6:00 pmto9:00 pm
WeekdayWanderlustFrom Weekday Wanderlust: Cannonball!! Time to dive into 2014 with some more great travel tales from Bay Area writers. We can’t think of a better way to set sail into a new Weekday Wanderlust year than with Michael Shapiro, Erin Byrne, and Derk Richardson at the mic.
As usual, Don George will be our gracious and smiling emcee for the evening. Readings start promptly at 7 p.m., but you will always find a thicket of thirsty travelers in the Library Bar at 6. Please stop by and raise a glass and celebrate Weekday Wanderlust and our great Bay Area travel writing community. Thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you!
  • Michael Shapiro, award winning writer; author of A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration; wrote the text for the pictorial book, Guatemala: A Journey Through the Land of the Maya. Michael’s work also appears in Islands, American Way, and the Washington Post.
January 15, 2014
12:00 am

litcampThe deadline is January 15 to get your submission into the Lit Camp writers conference, co-sponsored by Litquake. This year’s faculty includes authors Andrew Sean Greer, Susan Straight, Karen Joy Fowler, Tom Barbash, Peter Orner, Janis Cooke Newman, and Emily Rapp, as well as agents Amy Williams, Danielle Svetcov, and Mollie Glick. This year’s editors include Ben George of Little Brown, Ethan Nosowsky of Gray Wolf, Casey Jarman of McSweeney’s, Oscar Villalon of Zyzzyva, and Zoe Ruiz of The Rumpus. Lit Camp 2014 runs May 15-18.

November 25, 2013
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Wanderlust1The last Weekday Wanderlust of 2013 will be on Monday, November 25. Location, as always, is the Hotel Rex in San Francisco (562 Sutter Street, near Union Square).

“We know it’s the week of Thanksgiving but we figured you might be home, dreaming of far away places and adventurous journeys. If you can’t get away then at least escape at the Hotel Rex with a glass of French wine or Spanish Cava along with some intrepid tales from three great writers: Jill Robinson, Jenna Scatena and Colleen Kinder. Bring along your out of town guests, family, in-laws, and significant others too—the more the merrier! We look forward to seeing you and to another great Weekday Wanderlust event. Thanks for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you! Readings begin promptly at 7 pm but we’ll be spiking the eggnog at 6 pm.”

November 19, 2013
5:30 pmto8:30 pm

adventuredrinksSave the date: Third Tuesday is Nov 19th, and per tradition, AdventureDrinkers will be gathering for happy hour. Venue TBA, but it will be in the East Bay, and BART-friendly. More info soon—check the SF Adventure Drinks Facebook page.

June 29, 2014toJuly 6, 2014

watercolor-workshopJoin Sondra Holtzman, Connie Burke and Barbara Euser in legendary Southern Greece (Neapolis) June 29-July 6, 2014 for an incredible journey of exploration and creativity.

Working in small format, we’ll incorporate sketching and painting in watercolor into personal journals, inspired by writing tips and techniques to fully capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

October 26, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

LisaAlpineLisa Alpine will be teaching a travel writing class at the Writing Salon in Berkeley on October 26th.

“Do you love to travel? Keep a travel journal? Why not take the next step and turn your daily scribbles into well-crafted, memorable narratives that entice readers, family, and friends? You can do this by learning two things: 1) how to improve your storytelling abilities, and 2) how to market your work.”

More info here.

October 26, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

LisaalpineIn this workshop Lisa Alpine will share her wealth of experience on how to bring your travel stories to life and get them out into the world. For example, she’ll show you how personal travel essays are publishable even if they don’t fit the structure of conventional travel pieces.  “We’ll also discuss ways to generate other travel-related sources of income, such as

habeggerThere are still a few spots left in Larry Habegger‘s Advanced Personal Essay/Memoir Workshop in San Francisco. I took this class a few years back, and improved my writing—lots!

Here’s more info from Larry:

“In the class we’ll work on your stories, with lots of discussion and development to move those stories to deeper levels. It will pick up where we left off at Book Passage, or for those of you who weren’t in my morning sessions, we’ll emphasize strengthening your writing and storytelling through accessing memory and emotion, discovering the right structure, and using fiction techniques, among other things.

“This series of classes will run seven consecutive weeks,

September 22, 2013
9:00 amto1:00 pm

natgeoIt’s coming to San Francisco, Sunday, September 22, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Register here for The Power of Light & Color, a new photography seminar, teaches students to transform their photography and expand their understanding of how light and color can enhance the quality and impact of their images. National Geographic photographer Nevada Wier will share techniques that broaden the way you think—and see—to create more compelling photographs. View amazing images and see your skills improve in just one day!

Topics covered include:

February 12, 2014toFebruary 17, 2014

smwcRegistration is open for the 9th Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference, February 12-17, 2014.  Keynote speakers include:

  • Pat Conroy—The Great Santini and Prince of Tides
  • Yann Martel—Life of Pi
  • Laura Esquivel—Like Water for Chocolate
  • Benjamin Alire Saenz—Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club (2013 PEN/Faulkner Winner)
  • David Whyte—River Flow: New & Selected Poems
  • Kathi Diamant—Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant

As usual, the conference also includes over-the-top workshops and activities:

  • 55+ Speakers, Faculty, & Literary Agents
  • 56 Daily Workshop Options
March 10, 2014toMarch 17, 2014

erinAward-winning writers Christina Ammon and Erin Byrne offer a Deep Travel Writing Workshop from March 10 – 17, 2014 in Fez, Morocco.

Erin explains what she means by deep travel: “In its simplest form, travel is physical movement from one place to another: a flight from Seattle to South Africa, the long drive through Nebraska, or camel trek across the Sahara. Along the way we encounter new sights and smells, sounds and sensations: the taste of curry, the notes of a sitar, snow-peaked Andes, fresh mint mingling with dyed leather in the souks of Marrakech. If we are lucky, our expectations are scrambled. We are reminded that there are larger forces at play.

October 12, 2013
9:00 amto5:00 pm

“The Fifthwfc San Francisco Writing for Change Conference is the place to discover whether your book can change the world. The theme of the conference is “Changing the World One Book at a Time,” and the goal is to encompass business, politics, technology, social issues, the environment, culture, the law, and much more.

“The Writing for Change Conference is devoted to bringing together agents, editors, authors, and publishing professionals to enable nonfiction writers to learn about writing, publishing, marketing, and technology. You’ll also learn how to get your work published successfully, online and off.

October 6, 2013toOctober 11, 2013

Here’s an invitation to Robin’s upcoming Bali retreat for writers who have a book in process. The date is just before the annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, and workshop participants qualify for discounted tickets to the Ubud festival.

robinsparksRobin says, “In the Breath Life Into Your Book retreat Oct 6-11, 2013, we will approach our writing using all of our senses.

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