Evan Elliot WriterslashEvan Elliot WriterslashEvan Elliot EditorslashEvan Elliot TeacherslashAbout Evan Elliot


I love teaching. Got my start at the University of Iowa while I was a graduate student in creative nonfiction writing, and now I teach persuasive writing and business writing at the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business and the University of San Francisco, plus a regular creative nonfiction workshop at U.C. Berkeley Extension. Here are four course descriptions. If you’d like to see more of my teaching materials, please email me.

For UC Berkeley Extension:

The Literature of Food

If you’ve ever read a food essay by M.F.K. Fisher or Calvin Trillin, you’ve tasted the literature of food. In this course you’ll read and write this literature—namely, creative nonfiction pieces that use food as a doorway into big themes such as pleasure or love or loss. In six weeks we’ll cover three main food topics: portrait, memoir, and personal essay. You’ll read sample pieces for each topic, discuss the pieces in class, write your own pieces in similar modes, and then share your writings in a workshop setting. Together, we’ll discover what we talk about when we talk about food.


For the University of San Francisco:

The Elements of Argument

Life is, among other things, a series of decisions. We use arguments each day to help us decide which food to eat or which book to read. We also use arguments to change others’ views or to change our own.

In this course you will read and write argument essays—papers that ask your reader to do something or to think of a given subject in a new way. Please note that argument is not a brick through a window; argument is a job application, a letter of recommendation, a thank-you note. In this course, argument is a persuasive paper. You can change the world with argument. It’s the form of writing you will use the most and need the most for the rest of your life.


For The Tides Foundation:

The Perfect Elevator Pitch:
How to Describe Your Organization’s Services

So you find yourself in an elevator with the president of a large and wealthy foundation. “What does your organization do?” asks the president. Do you: a) Say that you “Seek to leverage synergies to better provide underserved parties with optimal resource solutions,” or b) Explain what you do so clearly and persuasively that you receive a colossal grant? In this class you’ll learn to describe who you are and what you do in one short, clear, and compelling statement, which can help with your outreach efforts.

The Fundraising Letter: Cut the Clutter and Get Results

Why are most fundraising letters such a chore to read—and such a struggle to write? In this class you’ll learn how to write a clear and compelling letter, complete with a tight focus, a personal voice, concrete images, and a call to action. We’ll first discuss two sample letters, and then you’ll write a letter for your organization.