Kathryn J. Abajian
Writing Instructor

A native Californian, Kathryn grew up near Los Angeles and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970s. There she reared her children, taught high school English and occasionally studied more art history and literature. Seeking a change of pace from high school teaching in the early 1990s, she earned an M. A. in English at San Francisco State University and soon began teaching composition, literature and creative writing for Diablo Valley College.

During this time Kathryn began research into the art and life of a Utah landscape painter, resulting in the publication of First Sight of the Desert: Discovering the Art of Ella Peacock in 2005. The book blends Peacock’s life story as an early feminist artist with a memoir of Kathryn’s life changes during a decade of research.

She was honored by the San Ramon Valley Chamber of Commerce as the Educator of the Year in 2008 and recently retired as a tenured professor to write and teach privately. Kathryn leads the Heart of Memoir Writing Retreats throughout California and in Abruzzo, Italy each summer for her program, Italy, in Other Words. She is looking forward to teaching narrative nonfiction writing in the South of France in 2014.  Her travel, food, memoir and arts essays have appeared in various publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, American Art Review, Salon, and Travelers’ Tales anthologies.

For a flavor of Kathryn’s instruction, visit her weekly blog, ~the art in the heart.

photo credit, Christine Mallet


Linda Prospero
Cultural Guide


A Princeton, New Jersey writer, Linda has been traveling to Italy for forty years.

She has lived for extended periods in Rome and explored much of Italy, including
Abruzzo, to visit family and explore Italian culture.  Linda’s background knowledge
and fluency in Italian offer participants valuable insight into the local food and culture.

 Linda spent her career as a journalist, and her articles have appeared in publications
ranging from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times to the Times of India. She is
the author of the popular blog, Ciao Chow Linda.
But Linda’s real passion is Italy—its art, literature and food and sharing that love with others.



Contact Kathryn HERE

Most participants make contact before enrolling, but it’s not necessary.
If you have questions about anything, don’t hesitate to write. We can arrange a time to talk on the phone as well. 

find California workshops and more at  The Heart of Memoir