PITTSBURGH-Ann Howley, a writing instructor at Community College
of Allegheny County, is very proud of her students, and with good
reason-since taking her noncredit writing classes at CCAC, four
students have become published authors. Howley, who wrote the
coming-of-age story "Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone
Bad," started a memoir writing workshop at CCAC in
2015 so others could learn from her experience as a new author
navigating the complex process of writing and publishing.
"I said to myself so many times, 'I wish someone had told me
that!' That was my goal-to share what I had learned."
When the four-week class was over, the response from students
was so positive that it was extended for another four weeks and has
been offered several times since, along with other classes taught
Noretta Willig signed up for the memoir workshop when she was
stalled in a book she was writing about her uncle-a 19-year-old
soldier whose remains were found 90 years after he died in France
during the final days of WWI-as well as the impact of the Great War
on three generations of her family. In the class, Willig found the
support she needed to complete "Carl's Story," which has received
wide acclaim. In fact, the book has been endorsed as an official
project of the World War I Centennial Commission.
In a note to Howley, Willig said, "I found that your
encouragement and the positive responses from fellow students gave
me the reinforcement I needed to move the book
forward. This book has been a life-changing
experience, and I am forever grateful to you and the people from
Memoir I at CCAC."
Three other students have had essays and stories published in
anthologies-Michael Burroway's story about growing up gay and then
making peace with his abusive father on his deathbed was published
in the 2017 edition of OASIS Journal; Nancy Alauzen, who suffers
from a rare genetic bone disease, had an essay published last year
in "Weak Bones, Strong Wills, the Stories of XLH"; and Karen
Coughlan is a contributing author in the recently published "Clunk
on the Head: How the Holy Spirit Got Our Attention."
In class, the students learn to give and receive constructive
feedback, said Howley, a former accounting professional who has
been a regular writer for Pittsburgh Parent magazine for six years
and is also working on a novel. She makes it clear that every
student should feel they can safely share their work.
"We really learn so much from each other. All of us have to
support each other to become better; not only to improve our craft,
but also to keep the momentum going. I feel like, if I can do this,
they can too."
Writing a book or essay is only part of the effort, Howley said,
so she also teaches classes that delve into the publishing and
marketing of one's work. This fall, Howley will teach the following
classes at various CCAC campuses and locations: How to Write for
Magazines; Writers Support Group; Memoir Writing Workshop; How to
Find a Writer's Agent; How to Build an Author Platform; How to
Teach a Class for Community Education; and Writing Short
For more information on CCAC Community Education classes, visit:
contact firstname.lastname@example.org or