Photograph of Roberta Allen: Christopher Ho 3/2018/

Roberta Allen

Writing workshop Summer 2019

Inquire about 1-to-1 Zoom
sessions during Covid-19 at Half-Price.
Please email me at
For Beginning & Experienced Writers

The Playful Way to Serious Writing, Houghton Mifflon, available on


Fast Fiction, available on Amazon

in English + in a German Edition

"Roberta Allen is an untapped gold mine."


--Janet Coleman, Arts Director, WBAI FM Radio



The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself, Houghton Mifflin Available on Amazon 

 My unique methods have helped thousands through my writing workshops and writing books. I love to nurture writers, those who come to my workshops unsure or unaware of how creative, imaginative and original they are, and those who come to tap more of their creative juices and perfect their craft. I've watched many writers gain confidence and blossom, surprising themselves with the quality of their writing. Many of my writers are published.


My methods keep the energy going in micro stories, short stories, novels, and memoirs, from beginning to end. I will show you: 1. how to discover what is truly your material. 2. how to hook the reader. 3. how to create tension and narrative drive easily. 4. how to know what to keep in and what to take out of your writing. 5. how to write part by part or chapter by chapter, step by step with or without a plan. 6. how to make  simple plans for your story, novel, or memoir. 7. how to wing it without a plan. 8. how to connect disparate parts. 9. what to do when you're stuck.






If you have some writing experience, you may join the Longer Prose Workshop. Write short stories, novellas, full length memoirs and novels. The emphasis is on beginning works or works-in-progress. Roberta's style of teaching is spontan- eous, easy-going but intensive. 


  • 6 session workshops  

  • Alternate Mondays 7:30 - 10:30 PM. 

  • 5 member maximum Longer Prose

  • Overcome fears and blocks.  

  • Constructive, insightful, perceptive, caring + detailed critiques tailored to your individual writing.

  • All members read aloud a revision in the workshop and get spoken and written feedback at every session.

  • Learn specific techniques to keep the writing alive while you revise.

  • Meet like-minded individuals.  

All Group Workshops



For beginning + experienced writers. 

For writers of flash fiction, short stories, memoirs + novels.


You will do prompts that can be used:

1. for flash stories 

2. for beginning a longer work 

3. for a longer work in progress


You will learn:

1. to choose relevant prompts for a particular project.

2. techniques to keep the energy going whether you write micros or longer works.

3. simple ways to make plans for longer works.

4. how to find or build structure. 

5. questions to ask yourself as you revise.

6. how to use the 5 (or 10) minute method to write longer works step by step.

​Roberta's nine books include a novel, a novella, three micro and short story collections, a memoir and 3 writing books. Over 300 of her micro + short stories have been published. She taught at The New School for 18 years and in the Writing Program at Columbia. Since 1991, Roberta has helped thousands through her writing books and workshops.

1-to1 PRIVATE COACHING + INSTRUCTION ON ZOOM. For Beginning, Experienced and Lapsed Writers 

Please email me at

1. Each session tailored to your individual needs.

2.  Learn my simple, easy method to get your energy going in 5-minute exercises.

3. In-class exercises are read aloud.

4. Learn the fundamentals or hone your craft.

5. You revise at home, then read aloud on zoom. I follow on print-outs + give feedback.

6. Experienced writers get caring, in-depth, constructive critiques on micro stories, short stories, memoirs, novellas + novels.

7. I edit and critique manuscripts in-progress and finished manuscripts: collections of micro and (or) short stories, memoirs, novellas and novels. 


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"Roberta really tunes in to each writer and almost by osmosis knows what each one wants to say even before the writer does.I actually got the stories from that Intensive revised + published! I was so happy with the Intensive that I joined the longer prose workshop and am now writing a memoir in micro stories.”


--Susan Shaw, Artist & writer


"What you taught me over the years was invaluable. Your encouragement and guidance motivated me to keep writing." 


--Larry Silberfein, Creative Director & published writer


"Roberta's insightful critiques as well as the insightful feedback of the writers and students she attracts, have greatly improved my writing."


--Paul Wirhun, Artist




"You have inspired me beyond words! I will have two stories

included in the upcoming micro fiction anthology from W.W. Norton. My dream. Thought you should know as you started me on this journey". 


--Francine Witte, Author of The Way of the Wind, flash novella, and Dressed All Wrong for This, flash fiction.



"Roberta'a innovative approach to teaching helped me develop as a writer of the flash prose form I love. She encourages her students to view revision as fun. Missteps should not be judged as wasted effort, but rather as part of the process, cutting what's lifeless and expanding what feels alive."


--Pamela Gay, author of the flash memoir, I'm So Glad You're Here


"I never thought I had the talent to write until I had Roberta’s guidance and support.”​


--Lisa Grossman, Life Coach, Writer


"Roberta helped me push through writer's block and tell the stories I wanted to tell. Her classes were invaluable."


--Will Ryman, Artist


"You are always insightful and most perceptive commenting on all students' work, which gives me the confidence to explore without fear."


--Marilise Trotto, Actor


"Roberta's simple techniques and exercises quiet the mind allowing the writer to focus on fresh work. Her workshop inspired me to write micro fictions, a genre I had been attempting. I came away with ten micro fictions and a new confidence in the freshness of immediacy."


--Judyth Emanuel, author of the novel, Yeh Hell Ow

"Roberta has been an enormous help and inspiration on my novel writing journey. She has helped me make a clear and concise outline so for the 1st time I see the trajectory of the plot. As we work line by line on individual chapters, she is sensitive to the rhythm of the language as it appears in narrative, description and dialogue. Within each scene, she helps me further the plot and development of the characters. It is a pleasure and a privilege to have Roberta as an instructor."

--Stephanie Hart, author of Mirror Mirror, a collection of Memoirs and Stories



Through all my incessant worrying you always patiently told me I'd eventually get published. You were right. Again. Thank you!"
--Larry Silberfein, published writer + Creative Director