The slide show you see here is of the 215 professional writers who currently teach for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. From the sagacity of instructors who have taught for decades and to the fresh perspectives of new instructors, they bring the gifts of knowledge, discernment, and support to our students. In short, they are the lifeblood of the Writers’ Program.
In addition to our Los Angeles cadre of 139 onsite instructors, 76 online writers teach from 17 states as well as Canada and France. Increasingly, Writers’ Program students can learn from Writers’ Program teachers from all over the world.
Over 1,000 writers have, over the years, contributed their talents to this beautiful, generous pool of writers who primarily write but sometimes teach. Some have come, gone, stayed, and sometimes come back. Some, sadly, have passed away. This big, juicy, fluid, robust group of people has always been one of my very favorite things about the Writers’ Program.
Of course, a major way our teachers contribute to the Program is through suggesting new courses. When my husband and I first started dating, he had a cookbook called 100 Ways to Cook a Chicken, and I always thought: that author doesn’t have a thing on the Writers’ Program teachers, who continually dream up new ways to convey the art and craft of writing.
(On a side note, however, I will say that there have been some suggestions I can’t hang with. One teacher has proposed How to Write a Novel on Twitter every year for five years, and I always turn him down. But never say “never”: the New York Stock Exchange just started trading Twitter, so maybe the time is coming…!)
In return, I hope that the Writers’ Program, to the extent we can, pays our teachers back: through the chance to try out new classes, to pick up insights and inspiration at events like the Publication Party and Annual Instructor Retreat, and for some, to take a first crack at teaching in a supportive environment that really values what writers do.
It is my honor to work with each and every one of them, and to all I say, on behalf of generations of students and staff, “Thank you very much.”
Linda Venis is the director of the Writers’ Program.