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.


Memoir Writing

Perhaps your life story has the makings of a great book. Or maybe you just want to record your personal story for posterity. This half-day workshop, led by NY Times bestselling memorist Franz Wisner, will teach writers of all levels the basics of penning a memoir, including:

  • Structure and story arcs
  • Common do's and don'ts
  • Character development, dialogue, description
  • Editing
  • Agents and publishing options
  • Promotion and distribution
Information and registration
Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Memoir Writing Franz Wisner 1/27/18 Saturday,
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$125 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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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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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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