Memoirs • Fiction • Pop Culture • Film
I have taught writing, pop culture, and film studies at the University of California, San Diego, Extension program, and the University of Phoenix Currently, I offer one-on-one writing workshops for aspiring writers around the globe.
Memoir Writing Workshops
For several years, I led a series of five-week Memoir Writing workshops in San Diego, California. During the first five-week workshop, I helped writers, both novice and advanced, to outline their memoirs, beginning with those memories that live in the forefront of the mind, those stories that they tell whenever people gather and talk about their lives. As the course progressed, I helped the writers dig deeper, to find those (sometimes painful) stories that dwell in the farther reaches of memory. At each class, members received written insights into telling their stories and numerous prompts for when their own ideas begin to slacken and they think they have nothing more to say. Each life is unique, and a record of that life is the greatest legacy a person can leave to family and loved ones.
Having moved to Brazil, I now offer the workshop to individuals on a one-on-one basis.
“Ann’s Memoir Writing class has given me an inlet, an outlet, and a new purpose to my life in retirement. The prompts she provides, the constructive criticism she gives, and the enthusiasm with which she approaches each class have given me an opportunity to take a fresh look inward at my life, both past and present, an outlet in the wonderful world of writing, and a new purpose to my life. Do not miss an opportunity to experience the tutelage of this phenomenal woman of letters.” Anne Trevethan Birkhoff
Fiction Classes and Workshops
Writing isn’t simply the putting together of sentences. It is the stimulating of the five senses, plus memory, pulse, and imagination. Whether science fiction, western, crime, thriller, mystery, romance, or the occult ... all genres require expert crafting of plot, character, and story. I teach creative writing, primarily fiction. As a sideline, I work as literary consultant and editor for a number of published authors.
UCSD Extension: Beginning-writer workshop entitled Using the Five Senses in Your Writing.
UCSD Extension: Writer workshop (5-week) entitled Vile, Evil Villains.
UCSD Extension: Writing class (5-week) entitled A Sense of Place.
UCSD Extension: Writers workshop (3-week) entitled Overcoming Writers Block.
UCSD Extension: Writers workshop (5-week) entitled Creating Memorable Characters.
UCSD Extension: Writers workshop (3-week) entitled Using the Five Senses in Your Writing.
UCSD Extension: Online writing courses. (beginning 2012)
Student comments on “Vile, Evil Villains” Course:
- “Ann is incredibly knowledgeable and has a great personality. Her critiques are done with tact, making even beginning writers feel comfortable.”
- “I got exactly what I was hoping for from this class. Ann teaches with an enjoyable, engaging style.”
- “Ann is a highly motivating and animated instructor.”
- “Ann is a true artist of her craft and not a blowhard.”
- “This was a great fun class. Ann is a great instructor.”
Student comments on “Writing with the Senses” course:
- “Ann is an excellent instructor. This was an amazing experience.”
- “An extraordinarily knowledgeable and creative and caring instructor.”
- “Perhaps my best-ever class. An incredible joy.”
- “Excellent course. It helped me to improve my description writing in my scripts.”
- “The instructor was welcoming and non-threatening, especially to beginning writers.”
- “Ann’s enthusiasm is contagious.”
- “This was a quick intro that needs to be a semester class.”
Pop Culture Course
Before the advent of the printing press, common man typically knew of the world only through stories told by wandering minstrels and town criers. With the advent of print and the spread of literacy, the world opened to the common man. Today, light years beyond the Güttenberg press and other early technological innovations, the globe is smaller than it has ever been in the history of mankind. In this course, I taught about the world before Güttenberg, and then from print to radio to newspapers to television, and, finally, to the advent of the Internet. Fortunately for me, that's where the class content stopped: it would be an impossible task to keep up with rampant pop culture changes.
Film History Course
My brain is a haven to the memory of supporting and B-movie actors, particularly those who lived prior to the 1980s. Mickey Shaughnessey, C. Aubrey Smith, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp -- these were the friends of my youth (granted, they were already old or dead by then, but they lived on in film). During college, when I was bored in class, I would list all of Gregory Peck’s movies by heart, writing in backwards text. Movies were my second reality. So, it was natural that I would thrive teaching film studies.