Keep Learning All Year Long!


In partnership with the Mechanics’ Institute, we will be presenting educational (and entertaining)
events with prices that are writer-friendly—including a few FREE classes too!
The classes will all be held at the Mechanics’ Institute
57 Post Street – San Francisco, CA 94104 –

Check out the upcoming SFWC-MIL CLASSES below…
Then click on the Class Titles for more details and online registration.

September 21, 2019 – 10:30am to 12:00pm

Kate Farrell

What’s Your Story? Become an Unforgettable Storyteller

The delightful Kate Farrell with show you how to create, frame, and tell memorable stories for every occasion!  Fee:$35

Kate Farrell, MLS, is a graduate of the School of Library and Information Studies, UC Berkeley. She has been a language arts classroom teacher (pre-school through 12th), author, librarian, university lecturer, and storyteller since 1966. She founded the Word Weaving storytelling project, funded by grants from Zellerbach Family Fund, 1979-1991. A consultant to the California Dept. of Education, Farrell conducted Word Weaving staff development trainings and statewide, language arts curriculum. Farrell has published numerous educational materials on storytelling and is currently writing a how-to book on the art. She is recently retired as a teacher librarian from the San Francisco public schools. Find out more at and

September 28
How to Write Stunning Sentences with Nina Schuyler

By the end of this class, you will have mastered the art of writing sentences that do much more than simply move the story along.  ($75)

Nina Schuyler is the author of The Translator, which won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Award for General Fiction and was shortlisted for the Saroyan International Writing Award. Her first novel, The Painting, was nominated for the Northern California Book Award and named a Best Book by the San Francisco Chronicle. She’s also the author of How to Write Stunning Sentences, published 2018 by Fiction Advocate. Her short stories have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and have been published in ZYZZYVA, Your Impossible Voice, Fugue, Santa Clara Review and elsewhere. She writes a column for Fiction Advocate about style and teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco.

October 4Ona Russell
Writing the Past: the Truth of Historical Fiction with Ona Russell

In this workshop, you’ll examine the basics–from research to voice to pacing.  (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m./Fee: $49)

Clues to Writing a Mystery with Ona Russell

Cozy, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, police procedural, thriller. All can be found on the mystery shelf, but each of these sub-genres has its own rules. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the differences but focus on the common essential elements: plot and character.  (1:30 to 4:30 p.m/Fee:$49)

Ona Russell, an author and credentialed mediator, holds an M.A. in English from Clark University and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of California, San Diego. As an instructor at various colleges and universities, she developed courses that combined her interdisciplinary interests, including Poetry and the Workplace, Truth of Historical Fiction, and Literature and the Law, a topic on which she also writes and speaks extensively.

Friday, October 18  at Noon

Legal Issues for Writers

Join us for a conversation with literary attorney Robert Pimm and author Rick Homan on legal issues commonly faced by writers including how best to collaborate with coauthors and illustrators, how to relate to publishers and literary agents, contract basics, and much more.   Bring your lunch.  This is a free event!

October 26

How Mastering the Art of Letter Writing Elevates Your Fiction — Talk and Q&A

In this 2-hour talk, we’ll examine pacing, conflict, setting, and discuss how you can use letters to gain insight into your characters.  (10:30 to 12:30/Fee  $49)

Workshop Your Query Letter to Finally Get an Agent

In this afternoon session, we’ll dig deep into your agent query letters, helping you brainstorm your ideas in small group critique sessions along with instructor feedback.  (1:30-4:30/ Fee $79)

Gina L. Mulligan is a freelance journalist and author of two historical novels Remember the Ladies and From Across the Room, and the non-fiction Dear Friend; Letters of Encouragement, Humor, and Love for Women with Breast Cancer. Through the slush pile three times with her query letters, she’s presented at AWP, San Diego State University Writers Conference, University of the Pacific, Gold Country Writers, and the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a national charity that collects handwritten letters for women with breast cancer. She’s been featured on,, The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, and The Steve Harvey Show.

These are just a sampling of the classes, activities and stimulating talks offered at Mechanics’ Institute.
Be sure to check the Mechanics’ Institute EVENTS page to see all the events for writers.
While some are only open to Mechanics Institute members, but many are open to the general public.   Take note of the Writers’ Lunches where you bring your bag lunch and join in with a group of fellow writers and speakers.  Writers’ lunches are FREE!
For details CLICK HERE

About the Mechanics’ Institute

The Mechanics’ Institute is a general interest independent library, cultural event center, and chess club located in the Financial District of San Francisco. Founded in 1854 to serve the educational and social needs of mechanics—artisans, craftsmen, and inventors—and their families, the Institute today is a favorite of avid readers, writers, downtown employees, students, film lovers, chess players, and the 21st century nomadic worker in search of a place for literary pursuits, thinking, research, and study.

Consider becoming a member. Membership provides access to our library, chess activities, free admission to most of our events, and discounted rates for our writing classes! Membership is open to the public and starts at $120 a year. Please see for further details and benefits.

Take a tour! The institute has a long history and many exciting services. Tours take place every Wednesday at noon or by appointment.

Saturday, January 12, 2019 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

You missed it? Here is a recording of the Free Preview of the 2019 San Francisco Writers Conference

Writing a book is arguably the easy part. Getting it polished, published and then having the world take notice … that takes industry knowledge and well-placed connections.  Attending a writers conference can give your writing career a huge boost. Luckily one of the best conferences in the country takes place in San Francisco this February. Come to this free preview session to meet the people behind the scenes at the San Francisco Writers Conference … and hear how it can help you be a better writer.

Open to the Public.  FREE       Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post Street, San Francisco

Subscribe to the SFWC Newsletter to hear about them as soon as they are confirmed.

All of the SFWC-MIL classes will be held at the Mechanics’ Institute –
57 Post Street – San Francisco, CA 94104 –