Some say good writing can’t be taught. We disagree. While instruction alone won’t make you a great writer, it will take you a long way in that direction. At the heart of our mission is a firm commitment to quality creative writing instruction that encourages you to become more thoughtful and proficient as you explore your passion for the written word.
49 Writers offers workshops and courses for emerging and established writers outside the constraints of university tuition and academic credit. We offer no easy answers or gimmicks. Rather, we aim to deliver student-centered teaching structured around meaningful outcomes. We want you to delve deep into the mysteries of language, discovery, and expression. Good teaching, like good writing, develops through a life-long process of learning that includes evaluating our work, sharing ideas, and stretching ourselves – sometimes beyond our comfort zones.
We offer affordable creative writing classes across genres to writers at all levels—beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Whether you’re just starting out or have already published, you will find a topic on the 49 Writers schedule that meets your needs. Course topics cover the gamut from craft, to serious revision, to special topics like spiritual writing or the literary uses of humor. We also offer practical training on the path to publication, promotion, social media, and more. Some classes are offered as single three hour long short courses, while others meeting weekly for an extended period of time. Many of our classes are face to face, and some are taught online.
Our course offerings fit (more or less; we like to stay flexible) into one of three categories:
These are generally 6 to 8 hours long. Elements courses include cross-genre topics like character, voice, narrative structure, point of view, description, beginnings, revision, and narrative time.
These typically run 12 to 15 hours. Workshops are by genre, alternating between fundamentals workshops for emerging writers (Fundamentals of Fiction, for example) and workshops exploring advanced techniques (such as Advanced Poetry Techniques). In workshops, students draft and revise within their genres.
These are normally covered in a single session of 2 or 3 hours. While we hope all of our courses are feisty and fun, our special topics courses are intended to be especially so, with an exploratory bent. We strive to balance our course offerings each term with regard to length, type, and genre.
Evening and weekend scheduling is a top priority, and our students tend to prefer classes that last less than six weeks. In Anchorage, we’re likely to schedule two of each type (Elements, workshop, and special topics) per term, leaving room to add an impromptu course or two with visiting writers as opportunities arise.
Special course offerings: We supplement our regular instructional schedule with clinics by visiting writers. We regularly partner with groups bringing authors to Alaska; please contact us if you’re aware of a partnering opportunity. Courses taught by special arrangement with visiting writers do not go through our regular proposal selection process.
What People Have Said
"A revisions class I took through 49 Writers was instrumental in helping me develop my story into a book. Thank you so much." - Nancy Pfeiffer, author of Riding Into the Heart of Patagonia
"I came to a 49 Writers round table for screenwriters last year as I just knew I wanted to write dialogue for motion pictures. The round table was led by Dave Hunsaker, an amazing screenwriter. Through information provided by 49 Writers, I then applied for the Alaska Native Playwrights Project and became part of the 2012 cohort, writing my first play for theater, The Hidden People. This fall I’m taking the 49 Writers workshop Unleashing the Screenwriter in You with Don Rearden. 49 Writers not only gave me the right direction for my writing, but also introduced me to the right people." - Natalia LaMont, playwright
“This course came at a very good time for me. It helped me improve my work significantly in a way I needed.” (on Submission Workshop with Katey Schultz)
“One of the best creative writing classes I have ever taken.” (on Funny is the New Deep with Steve Almond)
“Claire did a great job personalizing the course for each participant in the class.” (on Thriving in the Writing Life with Claire Rudolf Murphy)
“This kind of class is a huge need for us.” (on Building a Platform as a Writer with Lorena Knapp)
"When I was little, my mother used to sing, 'I always thought the cover of a book was like a door which opened up to some new place where I’ve not been before.' For me, 49 Writers is that open door. The class on Memory as Muse helped me excavate memories, while adding texture and meaning, so my memories are enlarged. The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, in such a beautiful world unto itself, helped me look at my writing closely, turning things over in my head…. In that place I felt different, yet understood." - Carol Richards, writer
"49 Writers has provided, hands down, the best professional development for me as a teacher and writer. It has helped fuel my passion for writing and increased my depth of knowledge about writing, which have all helped me improve my own writing and teaching of writing. Since I've started writing more on my own, students look at me as an equal when it comes to writing, they respect my opinions and expertise more, and are more open to what I have to say about writing. They can see I love it, and that makes them think they might love it too. Beyond all this, 49 Writers has become a community I have come to know and love. I've met some of my favorite people through this organization." - Jen Walker, writer and middle school language arts and reading teacher