The Art of Narrative Nonfiction (Level II)

This creative nonfiction writing course for the autumn is full. The winter session beginning Tuesday Jan 17 is open for enrolment.

  • 7-9:30 PM BST/GMT every other Tuesday
  • Jan 17/31, Feb 14/28, Mar 14/28, Apr 11/25
  • Eight 2.5-hour sessions
  • Tea break midway through class
  • Detailed feedback on all writing
  • Limited to 14 people
  • Tuition: £650


“Kathryn’s workshops are absolute troves of clear, thoughtfully presented material. She seamlessly blends engaging and foundational readings, compelling lecture, and meaningful workshopping. What I was most blown away by, though, was her fierce dedication to each participant’s journey – meeting each one of us where we were and guiding us further along in our writing path. From handwritten feedback to answering questions after hours, Kathryn really went above and beyond to ensure our growth and success.”

Kimberley, Atlanta, Georgia


The Art of Narrative Nonfiction Level II is for writers with some prior experience in creative or narrative nonfiction. This course takes your works-in-progress to the next level with a teacher who wants you to succeed. This high-value course provides the structure, support, fellowship, and feedback you need to grow and advance.  Whether you are writing an essay collection or book-length manuscript, your projects will be enriched and expanded through lectures, discussions, workshops, and writing prompts.  The pace will be familiar while the focus will develop narrative arcs, characters, and more finely plotted scenes. You will expand your page count and enhance your distinctive writing voice. The range of writing submitted per session also increases to 8-12 pages. Ultimately, this creative nonfiction writing course invites you to add nearly 100 pages to your works-in-progress.  Workshops are also expanded in length to provide you with the critical feedback from peers that you come to expect. In-class writing prompts will provide invitations to reflect upon yourself as a writer and expand particular skills.


Special Guest Speakers



  • Expand your works-in-progress
  • Hone your distinctive writing voice
  • Develop the narrative arc of your essays and story
  • Deepen and develop characters with the Iceberg Principle
  • Craft textured and revealing dialogue and use it to advance action
  • Craft vivid scenes that put readers into the action and storytelling moments




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 lovely 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.


  • Brief social time (10 min)
  • A reading or a writing prompt (5-10 min)
  • Review of previous lessons (5 min)
  • Lecture (25-30 min)
  • Writing prompt & discussion (10-15 min)
  • Break (10 min)
  • Discussion (30 min)
  • Writing workshop* (40 min)
  • Q&A and review for next class (5-10 min)

*Papers are shared in a Google Drive two days before class. Students are assigned small groups of 4-5. Writing workshops are excellent opportunities to hear how your writings lands on others. While this can feel scary at first — most people are not used to hearing live and immediate feedback on their work — initial discomfort wanes. Students find this component of class exceptionally valuable.


  • Payment plans for tuition are available. Please write to


Read more testimonials here about this creative nonfiction writing course.

“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


Kathryn Aalto’s 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. Learn how to write creative nonfiction with a hands-on and experienced teacher.


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 has given guest lectures at Cambridge University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and more. She has a global mentoring practice and thriving online writing courses, and leads in-person retreats, courses, and workshops in the United States and United Kingdom.