Winter Taster Series


  • A live online creative writing short course
  • 7-8:30 PM GMT
  • Tues Jan 31-Thur Feb 2
  • £150

If you’re curious about creative writing, but prefer to nibble an hors d’oeuvres than eat a full meal, this Winter Taster Series might be right for you. This short course is designed to introduce you to different facets of narrative nonfiction. There will be lectures on techniques and approaches, discussions of essays, and in-class exercises to help you reflect and grow as an emerging writer. The short course reflects how a long course is designed. You can get insights into how a professional writer writes, manages time, researches, finds topics, and more. There will be ample time for Q&As each of the three sessions. You will also have the opportunity to try your hand at writing a personal essay based on a writing prompt which will be discussed by your peers in a supportive workshop setting in the final session.



  • Learn how to create a mindful writing practice
  • Study and practice techniques used by personal essayists
  • Learn how narrative nonfiction writers dilate from the personal to the universal
  • Reflect upon ways essayists represent themselves on the page
  • Try your hand at a personal essay and in-class writing
  • Understand how narrative arcs (beginnings, middles, and ends) function in essays 


Kathryn Aalto is a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, she has taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University and guest lectured at Cambridge University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and more. She has a global mentoring practice and leads in-person retreats as well as creative nonfiction writing courses online and in person at workshops and retreats in the United States and United Kingdom. She is a judge for The Nature Chronicles Prize, an international bi-annual award for nature writing in the English language. She gives talks at distinguished speakers’ series throughout the United States and is represented by Chartwell Speakers in New York City.

Her teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. At its core, she believes teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are an emerging writer or writing beyond the level of content mastery. She cultivates a mindful and supportive learning environment that fosters personal expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth in the literary arts.



“Kathryn is an inspiring writer and gifted teacher of narrative non-fiction. She creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in the virtual classroom, even as she encourages writers to pursue their craft with rigour and tenacity. The classes pivot from instructor-led teaching to student-centred learning, with a dynamic range of activities, including lectures, discussions of craft/technique in assigned readings, writing prompts, workshops, Q&A sessions with published authors, industry insights and more. Aspiring writers receive detailed and actionable feedback, whether to build on existing skills or experiment with fresh approaches to craft. Beyond the classroom, Katy is happy to answer any questions, suggest further readings and encourage writers to publish.” 

Wendy, Maidenhead, England

“Kathryn Aalto is an exceptional teacher. As a best-selling author, she knows the publishing industry first-hand. And she is highly adept at refining one’s technical skills without stifling a writer’s voice. I love the combination of rigor and nurturing she provides. Without her mentoring, I would still be stumbling in the dark along my path to publication. Her guidance, support and knowledge are game changers. I cannot recommend her enough!”

Lise, Los Angeles, California

“Kathryn possesses a rare talent to hold a learning space in such a way each participant is supported while doing the hard work of being vulnerable. She extends an invitation to share space together in a small circle across time and distance as writers gather from around the world in a digital classroom with warmth and grace.  As a new writer, I felt unsure and intimidated. Was I ready? Did I have anything interesting to say?  Kathryn dispelled my fears, welcomed me and never stopped encouraging me to stretch just a little further. She weaves and layers lectures, writing prompts with workshopping along with insightful feedback (often with sketches!) for every session. Kathryn is attentive to the temperament of each class, pausing a little longer here, waving a brief hello to something over there. I rave about these classes! Not only for how each has helped me to learn the craft of writing but for how she has helped me discover my voice. Quite honestly, growing as a writer has profoundly affected my relationships. Deepening my relationship to self, to loved ones and the world I habit. What a joy!”

Beth Anne, New Jersey