Rachel Sherman is a master of the craft and a gifted, compassionate teacher. Her critiques are generous and insightful, at both the macro level (narrative structure, thematic development) and the micro level (line editing). Most importantly, she creates a safe, supportive space for writers to share their work. Thanks to the regular submission deadlines and Rachel’s invaluable feedback, I was able to complete a first draft of a middle-grade novel called The Pearl Hunter — which will be published by HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray in early 2023!

– Miya T. Beck (Mariko Beck)


I’ve taken multiple classes with Rachel over the last few years and have learned so much from her. She is a funny, brilliant, and kind teacher, always creating a generous and supportive workshop space and pushing me to produce my best work. Her feedback has been equally helpful and encouraging. Thank you, Rachel!

– Leila Mohr, Columbia University MFA


Rachel Sherman’s feedback, guidance and mentorship on the craft of writing has proven to be invaluable to me over the years.  From the first time I took her class at Columbia University, up through workshopping multiple drafts of a novel with her, I found her guidance, critiques, ideas, feedback and encouragement to be a constant source of insight and inspiration.  The course at Columbia was a magical class, where Rachel set the tone for students to share honest, thoughtful and helpful feedback, along with the clear writing principles and feedback that Rachel shared.  She has a keen sense of finding where students are in their journey learning the craft, and an ability to convey clear, actionable ideas on how to measurably improve.  Highly recommended.

-Joel Myers


I’ve just finished my second workshop with Rachel and already signed up for a third. Rachel has an unbelievable eye for finding the intentions within muddled writing and pulling a real story out from under layers of fluff and filler. Her skill as an editor and knowledge of literature are impressive, and her artful way of explaining ideas/teaching lessons has improved my own writing tenfold. Sharing material in her classroom is extremely gratifying and I always come away from it with a better understanding of what I am trying to write in the first place.

Reuben N., Writing for Teens


I’ve taken multiple classes with Rachel and loved every minute. She’s brilliant, unpretentious, and kind. Her classroom was always respectful and encouraging. I lacked a bit of confidence at the time and was helped enormously by Rachel who was so supportive. I learned a ton, felt inspired every class, and it remains a treasured experience that I carry with me to this day. Rachel is a wonderful person and an exceptional teacher. Can’t recommend enough!

– Lucas V.


I’ve taken Rachel’s class three times. With her guidance, I transformed a bunch of random post-its into several chapters of a novel-in-progress, and published a work of flash fiction. Whatever the genre, Rachel’s take is always incisive, and her narrative insights on point. The class is fun, completely pretension-free, and marked by an atmosphere of respect for students and their stories.

-Robin Bacigalupo


All good writing has an intangible quality – you know it when you see it. However, when you have written something yourself, it can be a challenge to actually “see” what is on the page, and what remains unstated within your subjective understanding. Of the many elements that Rachel’s classes provide (comradery, structure, development as an editor), what is most vital is the perspective she brings to each class. Rachel is a talented writer who understands what makes a narrative compelling. She is also a skilled and empathetic teacher who is able to describe complex issues with both precision and kindness. To put it simply, she can show you what you have actually written. For that, I have found Rachel’s workshops to be invaluable.

-Cyan Perry


Rachel’s Writing for Mothers class was a revelation–her prompts and feedback are excellent, and she has a wonderful knack for getting people to go deeper while still being supportive and respectful of their writing journeys. I placed one of the essays that I worked on in her class with a dream publication just a few months after the class finished. I think everyone who identifies as a mother and has any interest in writing should take this class!

Sarah Jaffe


Rachel’s workshops offer writers the opportunity to grow within a community. The deadlines keep you producing while discussing and critiquing others’ work sharpens your abilities as an editor. Her talents as a writer truly translate to her presence as a teacher— she was the first person to teach me to read like a writer. Her encouragement and guidance has made all the difference for me. I owe a lot to the experiences I’ve had in Rachel’s many classes.

-Andrew W., Columbia University MFA


I highly recommend Rachel Sherman’s novel writing workshop, which I have been enrolled in for the past year.  When I started, I had a bunch of ideas, but my characters were undeveloped and I didn’t have a point of view.  Rachel immediately understood the problem and helped me find the voice in which to tell my story.  Moreover, Rachel’s keen understanding of the human condition has helped me to develop relatable characters.  What I like most about Rachel is her enthusiasm and the way she encourages all her students to move forward with their work.  Even when she’s delivering constructive criticism, Rachel manages to do it in a supportive way, which is hugely important for this budding writer’s sensitive ego!

-Michelle Kaminsky


I enrolled in Rachel’s workshop as I was preparing to apply to MFA programs. Her feedback was always considered and incisive, and both stories I workshopped improved considerably over the course of the class. Additionally, I learned things I knew I would be able to apply to my writing in the future. I received a fully-funded offer to study fiction at Rutgers Newark based on the two stories I workshopped with Rachel, and one of them was picked up by Amazon’s lit journal Day One.

-Leslie J.


Before I took Rachel’s class, I studied playwriting at NYU, where I really struggled. The workshops there were unregulated, unmotivated, and taught by professors who were bored out of their minds at the prospect of actually interacting with students. Rachel’s class was where I started to see what I could do as an artist. It’s a rare opportunity – a class taught by a wildly talented writer who is also a gifted facilitator. From the very beginning, Rachel set a strong and supportive tone that the rest of the class followed, which is what allowed me to actually start writing something I care about. Any group of people will work together to rise to the level of their teacher, and Rachel’s class is proof – our discussions were frank and insightful, and nobody at the table was interested in literary bullshit. I finished the first short story I ever felt comfortable showing my parents in Rachel’s class. I also applied to and was accepted into four graduate programs. Seriously. Take this class.

-Emma D.


Rachel’s is a magical little class. When I took it, we had a lovely, supportive, well-read group, and showing up made my week, every week, without fail. The class is organized around spending the maximum amount of time on each student’s work. It’s utterly fair and not a moment goes misspent. (Actually, I’ve never had another class where I got as much quality workshopping done.) There’s flexibility to talk about everything from minute craft issues to long-term writing projects. The best of it is that Rachel takes a legitimate, uncontrived interest — a rare thing, that! — in your writing and your future as a writer. She also approaches prose of all kinds without preconception, so whatever it is you want to write — bring it in! It will get all the critique and attention and care that it deserves.
I recommend Rachel’s class without reservation.

-Davidas M.


I have taken Rachel’s class four times. Before taking her class, I would start writing stories but never finish them. Now I have about six full-length, edited pieces that I am proud of. Her insight into structure, plot, and dialogue have been invaluable to me and have helped carry me to a new level in my writing. The classes are well-organized, yet relaxed, giving everyone a chance to produce and critique in a way that suits their own style. Rachel’s extensive experience as an MFA student, a creative writing professor, and a published novelist also make her an incredible resource in and beyond the workshop. If students are interested, she always makes herself available to discuss writing, publishing opportunities, and MFA programs. I highly recommend Rachel’s class to anyone who wants to improve their fiction.

-Kate M.


In the workshop I took with Rachel Sherman at the JCC, she impressed me with her generosity as a reader: even though students were working in many different genres, from prose poetry to magical realism to traditional literary fiction, Rachel looked at each piece on its own terms, with a keen eye for its particular strengths and weaknesses.  She also creates a welcoming, respectful environment in the classroom where everyone’s voice is heard.  After studying with Rachel, I had a much clearer sense of what direction my novel needed to go.  She’s a terrific teacher, and I highly recommend her course.

-Chandler Klang Smith (author of THE SKY IS YOURS), Columbia University MFA


Sara Lippmann teaches with heart. She invests in her students and their stories like no writing teacher I’ve encountered before. Her feedback is honest, insightful, and delivered in a way that always builds up, never tears down. She creates the space for people to bring their full selves to the page, to create work that is raw, to take risks. Sara’s workshop has made me a better writer.

-Shayne Terry


Signing up for Sara Lippmann’s Short Form Fiction class was one of the best things I ever did for my writing. The classes were so fun and welcoming, and I came away with several stories marked up with Sara’s thoughtful and incisive feedback. With this new confidence and support, I decided that maybe I’d see if I could get into an MFA program. With Sara’s advice and encouragement, I applied using two stories I’d workshopped in our class, and was offered a fully-funded spot at the University of Montana. In other words, the class literally changed my life. I can’t recommend Sara or the Ditmas Writing Workshops highly enough!

-David Queen


Sara Lippmann will grow your writing, period.  She’s supportive when it’s needed, and she’s direct as an exacto knife when it’s needed.  Her casual expertise creates a safe community where you’ll be taken on your own terms but also pushed.  Sara has an encyclopedic knowledge of every story or novel ever written and she will prescribe stuff that meets you at your personal edge.  Oh and she’s a hilarious genius brave writer to boot!  Her class makes my life better.

-Brian Zimbler


I’m a visual artist who always wanted to be a writer and I took Rebecca’s fiction writing class to revise some older works and see if I could pull together a group of short stories.  Then the unexpected happened.  Through the structured weekly sessions of writing prompts, reading excerpts from different works, discussing character, plot, point of view, beginnings and endings, and workshopping of our stories, I started to feel like a writer.  I ended up writing a new story (and I would say the best story I’ve ever written) towards the end of the eight weeks.  The intimate and cozy setting of Rebecca’s apartment and the small class size created a safe and constructive environment to experiment with the prompts, read our works in a group, discuss our intentions, and review our successes and areas to refine.  Rebecca is open about her own process, well versed with contemporary literature, and generous yet rigorous with feedback.  I eagerly look forward to taking more of her classes!

-Valerie Hegarty


Before I took Rachel’s workshop, I took a writing class at NYU.  I didn’t learn anything at the NYU class.  Each student could only bring 3 pages every other week to be work shopped; that meant 9 measly pages total for the whole semester.  The teacher was unprofessional showing up at least 20 minutes late for each and every class, and she never gave line edits.  The teacher’s overall attitude, which she told the students all the time, was that NYU was not paying her enough to care about the class.  The feedback from students went unregulated and was disruptive.
In contrast, Rachel’s workshops have been the best experience.  Rachel has been an absolute professional.  She has always been on time to start the workshop.  Her pleasant personality makes everyone in the class respond in kind.  Each week, students get their writing work shopped, often up to 20 pages at a time.  Rachel actually earned at MFA, which puts her ahead of most workshop instructors.  Her line-by-line edits provide invaluable writing skills.  In such a short time, my novel has improved to publishable quality.  I owe Rachel a great deal.
I highly recommend Rachel’s workshops.  I took my first one a couple of months ago, and I have signed on for two more semesters with her already.

-Lisa D.


I’ve taken Rachel’s workshop a number of times, and I always come away with ideas for fixing current work, inspiration to begin new work, and some new friends.  Rachel’s talent as a fiction writer informs the advice she gives to her students, advice both funny and insightful, and you don’t have to write like her to get something from her classes.  She has something to offer every kind of writer and creates a great environment for people to share and learn from each other.  Take her class!

-Rebecca S.


This upcoming session will be the third class that I take with Rachel. I had always been interested in beginning to write fiction but was never able to find the discipline or the courage to start. Her advice, encouragement and deadlines have helped me get nearly halfway through the first draft of a novel.

-Polly B.