2021 Master Class: Cutting and Polishing (Afternoon)


A writing craft workshop on editing your manuscript, with Elizabeth Rosner.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/8 – Thursday 11/11, 1:30-4:30pm

A $100 combination discount will be applied when registering for the conference at the same time.

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Cutting and Polishing: Turning your good manuscript into a great book

with Elizabeth Rosner


You’ve completed a draft, or nearly so. You think it’s good. But is it the best it can be? Is it enough of a gem to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace? What can you do to transform your manuscript from adequate to extraordinary? That is the topic of this unique class.

In Elizabeth Rosner’s three-decade career as a teacher and nationally bestselling author, she has worked with hundreds of writers in revising and refining drafts and turning them into successful books. She has not won the Pulitzer for her writing (at least so far), but if there were one for teaching, we think she would be a top candidate. And a multitude of her grateful students share this opinion. She is truly an exceptional teacher.

Elizabeth will invite you to share excerpts, both those that you think are excellent, and others that you aren’t sure about. She will skillfully dissect them, finding what makes the great parts great and where the less-than-great parts are missing the mark.

She will help you to identify what truly works in your manuscript. The originality of your voice. The depth of your characters. The power of your story arc. The fluency and cleanliness of your prose. Then, with her exceptional gift for gently yet accurately guiding writers, she will help you understand where these strengths shine brightly, and where they don’t.

Writers sometimes dread the process of revision. “I gave it my best shot,” they tell themselves. “I’d rather move on to another book now.” And their book languishes unpublished, or if it is published, not widely read. Elizabeth’s inspirational teaching has helped many to bring the same joyful creative energy to the revision process that compelled them to write the book in the first place.

We enthusiastically recommend this class for writers who have a completed or nearly completed manuscript in any genre—fiction, memoir, non-fiction, short story or other—who have the courage to recognize that their creation is not quite the masterpiece they want it to be, and the determination to bring it to its true potential.



Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. Her most recent book, SURVIVOR CAFÉ: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in The New York Times; it was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and named one of the Best Books of 2017 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her third novel, ELECTRIC CITY, was included among the Best Books of 2014 by National Public Radio. Her poetry collection, GRAVITY, was also published in 2014. THE SPEED OF LIGHT, Rosner’s acclaimed debut novel in 2001, was translated into nine languages. Short-listed for the prestigious Prix Femina, the book won several literary prizes in both the US and Europe, including the Prix France Bleu Gironde; the Great Lakes Colleges Award for New Fiction; and Hadassah Magazine’s Ribalow Prize, judged by Elie Wiesel. BLUE NUDE, her second novel, was selected as one of the Best Books of 2006 by the SF Chronicle. Rosner’s essays have appeared in the NY Times Magazine, Elle, the Forward, and numerous anthologies. Her book reviews appear frequently in the SF Chronicle. 

A graduate of Stanford University, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Queensland in Australia, Elizabeth has been teaching writing workshops and lecturing internationally for three decades. She also coaches writers privately. www.elizabethrosner.com.