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"Writing Beyond What You Know" with Richard Santos

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St. Edward's University
3001 S. Congress Ave., Trustee Hall 303
Austin, TX 78704

2/29/2020 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


$49 for Members
$109 for Non-Members

This class has sold out. Walk-in registrations will be accepted as space allows.

Feeling constrained by the phrase "Write what you know?"
Do the people in your life keep telling you to write a book? Do you want to share your story, or your parent’s or grandparent’s, but don’t know if it should be fiction or nonfiction? Many people want to leave behind a record of their lives, whether that’s a memoir, a story about their ancestors, or a fictional tale rooted in truth. But a compelling life doesn’t magically become a compelling book. 

This class will review the common pitfalls of autobiographical writing. How do you know what to include? How do you know what to cut? Why isn’t it enough to tell an interesting story? And what happens once I finish the thing?

This is not quite a class for memoir writers—although it will discuss memoir best practices.  And this isn’t quite a novel writing workshop—although it will look at examples of successful autobiographical novels. 

This is a class for writers learning how to shape their own knowledge and experiences into a well-written book. Participants will explore their writing goals, undertake generative writing exercises, and make a plan for their future work.



  • You've heard the phrase "Write what you know" and feel constrained by it.
  • You're not sure about the line between memoir and autobiographical fiction.
  • You want to learn how to use your own personal story as the launch pad for fiction.


  • "Richard's class was very informative and detail oriented."
  • "Clearly presented with great examples. Accessible for questions.



Richard Z. Santos is the author of the forthcoming novel Trust Me. He has an MFA from Texas State University. His fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in multiple publications including The Morning News, The Texas Observer, The San Antonio Express News, The Rumpus, and many more. He is a regular reviewer and features writer for Kirkus Reviews. Authors he has interviewed include David Mitchell, Sandra Cisneros, James McBride, Daniel Alarcon, Kevin Powers, and others. He moderates panels for the Writer’s League and the Texas Book Festival. He has judged a category, or two, for the WLT Manuscript Contest multiple times. In a previous career, Richard worked for some of the nation's top political consulting firms, national campaigns, and labor unions.



St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall Room 303, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704. You can find a St. Edward's University campus map here.



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, February 27. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit