Cal Poly Bestsellers & Storytellers Writer's Program

The Cal Poly Bestsellers & Storytellers Writer's Program is a series of courses and workshops designed to help you with your journey to become a more effective and captivating writer. Writers of all levels are welcome to participate in this program

Please view current class offerings at here or call our office at (805) 756-2053 to register.


Central Coast Writers and the Literature of Personal Development

Sponsored in part by the Shanbrom Family Foundation.

From Big Sur to Ojai, great writers and seers such as Aldous Huxley, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and Robinson Jeffers have all called the central coast their home. Their works and ideas created “the counter-culture” and set into motion a literature of liberation and personal growth that has swept the world. This course is designed for those inspired by these writers and want to reconnect to their energy and idealism -- and for those just discovering the “Best Coast” writers on their own who would like a bit more formal introduction. This is not a course, however, about our glorious literary past but about what is still here and emerging from it.

Through lectures, discussions, and the reading of excerpts, we will examine the best that has been thought and said by the West Coast artists of personal growth and liberation. The goal is to throw light upon the relevance of their work to our own lives and to the originality inherent in our own contemporary experiences. In a world, increasingly divided “into tiny colonies of the saved,” the visionary literature of the Central Coast can serve as a healthy antidote to the dispiriting stereotypes of our age—while deepening our ties to the land, our community, and one another.

NOTE: Final meeting on April 10th from 6:10-8:00pm will include participants from all 3 classes to discuss future courses. (Steinbeck, Jeffers, Krishnamurti, The Literature of Big Sur, etc.). You are welcome to enroll in more than one class. A box will pop up when registering to notify of the overlapping 4/10 date; just click "Ok".


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Central Coast Writers and the Literature of Personal Development - Aldous Huxley Robert Inchausti 3/27/2018
4/03/2018
4/10/2018
Tuesdays,
6:10 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
$65 Enroll Now
Central Coast Writers and the Literature of Personal Development - Henry Miller Robert Inchausti 3/13/2018 - 3/20/2018
4/10/2018
Tuesdays,
6:10 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
$65 Enroll Now
Central Coast Writers and the Literature of Personal Development - Jack Kerouac Robert Inchausti 2/27/2018 - 3/6/2018
4/10/2018
Tuesdays,
6:10 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
$65 Enroll Now
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Children's Picture Book Writing I

Have you ever wanted to write a children's picture book? Join published author and teacher Cindy Neuschwander and learn about this writing genre. Five two-hour sessions cover all aspects of writing, editing, and publishing your manuscript. Topics covered in this class include an overview of the picture book from first ideas to published books, history of picture books, character, the mind of the child, narrative structures, story skeletons, illustrations, editing, submissions, and publishing contracts. You will read and study a number of picture books throughout the five weeks with the class and consider both fictional and factual story concepts. Whether you are a teacher, parent/grandparent, or someone who has a great kids' story to tell, this class is for you!


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Children's Picture Book Writing I Cindy Neuschwander 4/19/18 - 5/17/18 Thursdays,
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
$185 Enroll Now
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Children's Picture Book Writing II

Let's gather to critique, strengthen, and rewrite our picture book manuscripts. This class offers five two-hour working sessions, meeting weekly. Participants should be prepared to contribute a completed or nearly completed manuscript before the beginning of the first class. These manuscripts will be shared by all class members via e-mail prior to our first meeting so that class time can be maximized for constructive suggestions and rewriting. We will do big picture edits as well as line edits. We will also investigate publishers for submission and contracts. This seminar class is open to any student who has completed Picture Book Writing I class.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Children's Picture Book Writing II Cindy Neuschwander 2/8/18 - 3/8/18 Thursdays,
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
$227 Enroll Now
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Children's Picture Book Writing - Character Development

Unique and memorable characters are at the heart of every well written picture book. Join author teacher Cindy Neuschwander for a one day class on recognizing and crafting unforgettable characters. We will look at examples of strong characters as well as learn how to create our own.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Children's Picture Book Writing - Character Development Cindy Neuschwander 6/2/18 Saturday,
9:00 a.m. to noon
$75 Enroll Now
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The Mind of the Child

With one foot planted firmly in the imaginary and the other in reality, children demonstrate that their minds work differently than adults. Join author and teacher Cindy Neuschwander and explore ten universal themes that occur in picture books. This class will give adults a peek into what children are thinking and what resonates with them. Anyone who enjoys children and their literature will benefit from taking this one-day class.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
The Mind of the Child Cindy Neuschwander 5/5/18 Saturday,
9:00 a.m. - noon
$85 Enroll Now
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Write Your Way Around the World

We dream of sipping cappuccinos in Florence while writing. The reality: blow-drying your hand-washed underwear in a Zimbabwe hotel so you can pack and hit the road. Freelancing from abroad may not be glamorous, but it is an adventure. In this workshop, Katya Cengel, Cal Poly and UC Berkley journalism instructor, will teach students how to pitch an article to an editor, query an agent about a book, negotiate a contract with a publisher, and more. Having traveled the world writing herself, Cengel not only has excellent insights into the realities of making a living as a writer, but knows from experience that the adventure is worth it.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Write Your Way Around the World Katya Cengel 6/23/18 Saturday,
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
$125 Enroll Now
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Get Published Now

Amplify your voice and leave a legacy by learning how to get your writing published. In Get Published Now, Brian Schwartz will help you take the step from writer to author. Schwartz, the founder of SelfPublish.org and former president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, has spent the last eight years working with authors and publishers to help them reach success. Topics covered include advice from bestselling authors, common mistakes to avoid, marketing, branding, internet resources, and more. Learn how to implement a plan to get your writing published now!


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Get Published Now Brian Schwartz 10/13/2018 Saturday,
9:10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
$125 Enroll Now
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About the Instructors

Brian Schwartz is an award winning author and former president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. In the past 12 months, Brian Schwartz and his marketing team have taken more than fifty titles to #1 status on Amazon. Some of Brian's notable clients include NY Times Bestseller Sara Davidson, Joe Cross (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead), and Arlo Guthrie. Brian is the founder of SelfPublish.org, a site dedicated to bridging the gap between self-publishers and traditional publishing. He is a passionate speaker who enjoys sharing the proven strategies and techniques of successful indie authors. His YouTube channel has over 100,000 views. Brian has authored two books: 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times and Finding Speaking Success (Wise Media Group). He was featured in Wild Ink: Successful Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market (Prufrock Press). He is a past columnist for the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Cindy Neuschwander is the author of 17 published picture books for children. Her work includes the Sir Cumference series, Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream, Mummy Math, and Pastry School in Paris. Her books have been review by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the School Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly. Cindy began writing books in 1994. She had used math literature in her own elementary classes and wanted to use more of these books. There were not many available so she started writing some of her own. Cindy enrolled in a writing class at a nearby university and learned how to better communicate her ideas; this is where her writing career was born. Now, her books are published by Charlesbridge, Henry Holt, and Scholastic.

Katya Cengel has written for New York Times Magazine, Esquire and Marie Claire among other publications. She was a 2014 International Center for Journalists Mozambique fellow, a 2015 International Reporting Project Guatemala fellow and a 2016 International Women’s Media Foundation African Great Lakes fellow. Her University of Nebraska Press book “Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life” was a 2013 Kentucky Literary Award finalist and her series “Lost Boys, Torn Families” received a second place Green Eyeshade award for feature writing in 2006. Cengel teaches journalism at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and U.C. Berkley Extension.

Franz Wisner is the New York Times bestselling author of Honeymoon with My Brother and How the World Makes Love (both with St. Martin’s Press). He has been featured on Oprah, the Today Show, CNN, NPR, Vanity Fair, USA Today, and in hundreds of media outlets around the world. Wisner has also penned essays for NPR, Redbook, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Lost Angeles Times, Coast Magazine, The Toronto Globe and Mail, and The Australian. He lives in Cayucos with his wife and two boys.

Robert Inchausti is Cal Poly Professor Emeritus, former winner of the College of Liberal Arts Scholarship Award, two-time finalist for the Distinguished Teaching Award, and author of five books and editor of three more—including The Ignorant Perfection of Ordinary People (nominated for a national book award), The Pocket Thomas Merton, and, most recently, Hard to Be a Saint in the City: The Spiritual Vision of the Beats.

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