About Writing the Other

Writing the Other offers in-person and online writing classes for creators who want to set their narratives in cultures outside of their own and/or include characters whose gender, sexual preference, race, or other major identity differs significantly from their own. We believe that representation, inclusion, and diversity are fundamental to writing great fictional narratives found in short stories and novels, tabletop roleplaying games and video games, comics and graphic novels, TV shows and movies.

Our award-winning online course organization was founded in 2015 by Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford. Our curriculum builds off of the book Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, co-written by Shawl and Cynthia Ward, and has been enhanced by our deep roster of subject matter and cultural experts who’ve generously shared their expertise with our students.

2020 Locus Award Winner

In 2020 LOCUS Magazine bestowed the Special Award for Inclusivity and Representation Education upon Writing the Other, and honor we cherish. We were also nominated for Ignyte AwardsCommunity Award (for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre) in 2020 and 2021.

In 2023 Writing the Other began a new era of amazingness when we entered into a partnership with Clarion West, who now serves as our fiscal sponsor. Under this agreement, donations to Writing the Other and our scholarship fund are tax deductible under the rules governing 501(c)(3) giving.

Our Team

Nisi Shawl — Co-Founder and Program Advisor

K Tempest Bradford — Co-Founder and Executive Director

Piper J. Drake — Chief Operating Officer

Our Classes

Our creative writing classes are designed to help all writers succeed regardless of their expertise. We’ve structured online and in person writing classes for flexibility, value, and future reference. Our classes typically include a recording and additional materials so students can learn and apply techniques again and again.

Class types include:

  • Online Writing Classes and Workshops: Offered virtually using video-conferencing tools and private forums, our online writing classes and workshops target and expand on topics related to representation in fiction. Typically, our asynchronous online writing classes are one to four weeks long. Our synchronous writing workshops are typically five to seven hours long unless otherwise noted.
  • Master Classes about Representation: Our master classes, which are taught by subject matter and cultural experts, are geared for writers seeking mastery over a specific topic related to Writing the Other. These classes take place over the course of one to two weeks and typically include a syllabus, exercises, references, and lectures.
  • Online Writing Webinars and Seminars: Online webinars and in person seminars are presentations geared toward authors, editors, and other writing-adjacent roles. Most webinars and seminars include a Q&A with the presenter. Their length is varied and tends to be shorter, unless otherwise noted, than our other writing classes. 
  • On Demand Writing Classes: Available anytime, our On Demand Writing Classes are standalone webinars that cover a specific topic about representation in fiction. These downloadable webinars include video lectures and supplemental material. They typically include one to four hours of class material. 
  • Writing Retreats and In Person Classes: Writing the Other instructors K Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl offer in person writing classes and retreats on an infrequent or requested basis. Writing retreats are typically held once a year, while in person classes may be requested.

If you’re interested in signing up for a future writing class, subscribe to our Writing the Other newsletter to receive class, webinar, and workshop announcements or check out an individual class page for more information.