Easily the best independent bookstore in the country, Book Passage (www.bookpassage.com) in Corte Madera is also an excellent place to take a writing class. Often authors on their way through town on book tour will teach here. Book Passage is justifiably famous for its three big conferences — Children's Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers, and Travel Writers and Photographers — which take place in the spring and summer. Elaine Petrocelli, the brains behind Book Passage, packs these conferences with agents and editors, and then sends them out to mingle with the students. More than one local writer has had his or her career made at a Book Passage conference.
GOING ALL IN — GRADUATE SCHOOL
If attending these writing classes has you thinking about taking your skill set to the next level, you don't have to leave town. San Francisco State has one of the best, and for California residents, one of the least expensive Creative Writing graduate programs. It's not easy to get into, but the upside is that once you're in, reading your fellow students' work is a pleasure. SF State (creativewriting.sfsu.edu) offers an MA and an MFA program, and you can go part time.
Another good, although pricier, choice is California College of the Arts, which offers a two-year MFA program at its SF campus (www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/writing).