Level 1-4: Write Your Nonfiction Book Proposal


This Level 1-4 course is open to writers who want to learn how to write a narrative nonfiction book proposal. Writing a new book is an exciting endeavour, but navigating the world of publishing can be a daunting task.  This practical and comprehensive class is designed to demystify the intricate process of crafting a compelling book proposal. You will learn how to capture the attention of literary agents and publishers and set the stage for a successful writing career.

Students will complete a polished book proposal ready to captivate agents and publishers. Armed insights and expertise, writers gain the confidence to navigate the publishing world and turn their literary dreams into reality. “Write Your Nonfiction Book Proposal” is not just a course: it is a road map to success, empowering aspiring authors to take the next step in their writing journey with purpose and assurance.

Known for her New York Times bestseller, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood and Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World, Kathryn understands the process of writing well-crafted book proposals. In this book proposal course, she shares invaluable publishing insights and provides participants with a step-by-step guide to navigate the intricate landscape of book proposal writing.


  • 7:00 to 9:00 PM GMT
  • Every other Sunday
  • Sep 8/22, Oct 6/20, Nov 3/17, Dec 1/15 


  • £550 tuition
  • If you would like to stagger tuition payments, contact kathryn@kathrynaalto.com to discuss


Write Your Nonfiction Book Proposal begins by laying a strong foundation, emphasizing the importance of a clear and concise concept that forms the backbone of any successful book proposal.  Kathryn guides participants in identifying their unique voice, niche, and target audience, ensuring that their book proposal resonates with publishers and readers alike. She shares anecdotes and case studies to illustrate the dos and don’ts of proposal writing, making the learning process engaging and relatable.

Students gain a thorough understanding of each element’s significance and learn how to articulate their book’s value proposition, making it irresistible to agents and publishers seeking fresh and marketable ideas. With an accessible teaching style and step-by-step assignments, students craft book proposals with the following elements:

  • a book synopsis
  • an outline with a narrative arc
  • fleshed out chapter summaries
  • a writing sample that hooks an acquisitions editor
  • a compelling comparable section accompanied by market analyses
  • a well-defined author platform

In addition to the technical aspects of proposal writing, the course provides workshop sessions that provides helpful feedback from classmates. Through practical exercises and interactive discussions, students learn how to construct each component to weave a captivating story that leaves a lasting impression on literary professionals.

Each class meets for two hours and follows a lecture, discussion, and workshop format. Though classes are structured, Kathryn takes cues from students about their needs and intuitively shortens or lengthens the structure of the course based on the needs of students.


No matter your subject or style, you will find a great writing community in this bi-weekly creative nonfiction writing course. All of Kathryn’s writing courses are characterised by a warm fellowship and positive accountability, which will keep you comfortably supported and focused on your writing goals. Each session you gather with your classmates, you will learn from and teach each other while gaining a new set of friends who share your writing aspirations and growth mind-set.

Kathryn’s teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of writing. 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 artistic growth in the literary arts. Strongly influenced by the Harkness method founded at the Phillips Exeter Academy where her three children were educated, Kathryn provides a democratic learning space that emphasizes the art of conversation and active listening. 

Kathryn 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 has given guest lectures at Cambridge University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and more. She has a global mentoring practice, guides students in a vibrant online writing school, and leads in-person retreats, courses, and workshops 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 is represented by Peter McGuigan at Ultra Literary in New York City. As a public speaker, she has given hundreds of talks at distinguished speakers’ series and is represented by Chartwell Speakers in New York City. 



“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

“Margaret Atwood said ‘If you really want to write, and you’re struggling to get started, you’re afraid of something.’ Kathryn fixes those nagging fears by showing writers what we have that is already good, and what we can do better tomorrow. It’s win-win, and she remakes a traditional “class” into such an enjoyable, productive journey. I’ve also been lucky enough to experience the awe-inspiring surroundings and warm community that form the bedrock of the Rural Writing Institute. It’s not often that you can genuinely say that one long weekend shifted the way you look at the world, but the effects are still with me in my reading and writing years later.”Caroline, Aberdeen, Scotland

“After six months of working with Kathryn–which is a bit like entering the space of a handwritten letter, what with her sharp aesthetic sense, far-ranging intelligence, wit, and curiosity–I’ve made tangible progress on an unwieldy, long-form project I was struggling to articulate. I came to her Memoir and Life Writing class for accountability, and came away having experienced the kind of support, writing insight, and real feeling of friendship that can be difficult to find in a workshop environment. Kathryn fostered a warm, charming atmosphere in class (a real feat online), allowing for life-long connections to develop among our group of writers. She cares about the arc of her student’s writing lives–a form of attention that encourages artistic growth and positive risk-taking. She not only brought her years of writing and publishing experience to class and to our bi-monthly writing assignments (her personal feedback, often handwritten, is invaluable), she also brought her unique perspective. Writer-gardener-historians are, I think, particularly adept at imagining the possibilities for a piece, no matter your subject. Kathryn pushed me to dig deeper, moving my writing in new directions. No matter where one is in their writing life, working with Kathryn will be an experience of profound joy, insight, and artistic deepening.”Veronica, Portland, Oregon