Praise for Blackbird

I look forward to class every single week no matter what other commitments and projects I have on my plate. I’m energized and inspired every time.

~ Sara

I love Jennifer’s teaching style. She’s so passionate and real about the art form. She reminds us to sit in the mystery of the unknown, shows us what it takes to go the distance, and shares the behind-the-scenes of writing and publishing.
~ Jadah

It’s so wonderful to have a truly safe space to come to. I also really appreciated the direct guidance. For example, when Jennifer said, “Where specifically did you drift or lose interest? Make note of that.” Really helpful.

~ Kasey

I’ve enjoyed being in the presence of minds that like to think critically about literature — not something I really have in my immediate group of friends. ~ Taylor

I have loved the instruction and going deeper into writing scenes. I love reading new books and learning about plot and structure. I love hearing other writers read and keeping up with the progress they are making. I love getting to read and receiving feedback on my work. Love the community. ~ Amy

I have truly enjoyed the way the teachers incorporate books, movie, events from everyday life into the class. It is through this method that I now begin to see stories emerging from the most mundane things! It’s inspiring. ~ Camille

It’s been wonderful to be immersed in literary studies again and, for the first time in my life, be part of a creative writing community. I’ve benefited in so many ways. The study of literary structure and technique has been engaging and enlightening and has directly influenced my work. With Jennifer’s leadership and deep understanding of literary arts, the community has supported me in accessing the writer within, pushed me to improve my craft, and helped me realize previously un-accessed writing potential. I am inspired and grateful for the experience. It has been life-changing. ~ Cevia

Top five things I enjoyed about this year:
1. Supportive community of writers.
2. Favorite Books: Know My Name, Little Fires, Crawdads, Nickelboys, Best American Short Stories
3. Insight into Jennifer’s publishing journey, including revision process, discussions with agent and feedback from publishers.
4. 1:1 Consultations
5. Weekly teachings
~ Gina

I enjoyed the continuous addition of skilled and talented writers. I also appreciated Jennifer’s selflessness and generosity, and as always, her sage, pinpoint feedback.

~ Jerry

Jennifer Lauck

New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist, Jennifer Lauck has published four memoirs as well as numerous essays.

She founded the Blackbird Studio in 2017 after teaching for universities, adult education programs, and at conferences around the United States. 

Jennifer focuses on building a safe and supportive community and helping all writers, no matter where they are on the journey, achieve their literary goals. 

See Jennifer’s most current work on Substack called Flight School. 

Cloie Cohen

Cloie has been working with and for Jennifer since 2008, and keeps the communications running smoothly at Blackbird. As the student liason she’s your go-to for questions and logistical support.

A founding member of Studio III, where she works on her own writing, Cloie also coaches the foundational program of Bones of Storytelling.


Becky Ellis

Becky has been with Jennifer for nine years and is transitioning into teaching. She is also available for manuscript reviews and consults specializing in high literary, the military, interview-style storytelling, memoir, short story, structure, antagonistic forces, and meeting the need of the market.

Becky worked in publishing for twenty years with Sunset Books, Oxmoor House, and Time Inc. She is a memoir and short story writer who understands how to take a project to market. From strategic product development of best-selling books to content positioning of major lifestyle brands, national account sales, to content creation, Becky is a skilled creative writer with a deep understanding of the business side of writing.

Over the years of writing her first novel and interviewing her father for what would become her first memoir, Becky dove into the teachings of Robert McKee, author of Story, attending his intensive STORY seminar. She helps writers hone the craft of substance, structure, style, dialogue, voice, and the principles of the story. She’s also been studying creative writing with Jennifer for almost a decade and growing her style and voice. True to Lauck’s lineage, Becky explores writing through image and metaphor.

Finally, Becky holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and serves as a writing mentor and coach for college-bound students working on admission applications.

To book Becky for a consult email

Audrey VanBuskirk

Audrey, who has worked with Jennifer for ten years, is on her way to becoming a teacher at the Studio. Audrey has been doing manuscript evaluations and consultations for the last year specializing in character development, dialogue, humor, pacing, and structure.

Audrey is an accomplished editor, writer, researcher, and coach who helps writers develop their style and tone and tease out their distinct voices. She consults on fiction and non-fiction manuscripts (including full-length novels), personal and reported essays, cover letters, and pitches.

Audrey began her writing career in journalism at Willamette Week in Portland, rising from an unpaid intern to the Arts and Culture Editor. Later, she managed teams of reporters and designers as Editor of the Santa Fe Reporter in New Mexico, Editor-in-Chief for Seattle Weekly, and Arts and Culture Editor at the Portland Tribune. Next, she turned to business communications, working primarily with Nike to create, shape, and share clear and compelling content and storytelling. She’s also worked with South by Southwest, 1906, Umpqua Bank, Barre3, and more.

Audrey’s written freelance pieces for Complex, Eater, Mix, Nickelodeon, Northwest Palate, Oregon Business,  Portland Monthly, Reed, and Travel Oregon, and spent two years writing questions for the board game Cranium. Most recently, she ran a sixty-person book club as part of the FrizzLit series, combining her expertise in cooking with literature.

Sign up for Audrey’s monthly Pitch to Publication here, or email to book Audrey for a consult. 

Carolyn Biemer

Starting in Bones and advancing into SIII with her naturally evocative and poetic storytelling, Carolyn is a founding member of the Whole Writers Program (a three-year training ground in authenticity in creativity). As part of WWP, Carolyn is available for writers seeking affordable peer support in the areas of the literary novel and historical and science-fiction writing. 

Carolyn holds a B.A. in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Santa Clara University and is a lifelong writer. In her early years, she joined every literary club, paper, and magazine that school had to offer and spent free time burrowed into a corner of the library with a book. From raising, training, riding, and sometimes saving horses to a brief stint in OHSU Medical School, literature has acted as a rock and grounding place for her mind and imagination.

Carolyn is currently working on several projects, including a fictional novel and a slew of short stories. Carolyn also contributes to Lit Lessons in a hilarious and on-point essay: I’ll Never Write About My Life, Sept. 2022.

If you want to book Peer Mentorship consult with Carolyn, click here for details.

April Streeter

April has studied at Blackbird for seven years (SII), is a founding member of the Whole Writers Program, and is available for peer mentorship support in memoir and literary fiction (historical/science fiction).  
With an undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Hawaii and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a master’s in International Policy Studies, April is a longtime blogger, freelance journalist, and author of Women on Wheels: The Scandalous Untold Histories of Women on Bicycles (Microcosm, 2021) and co-editor of Our Bodies, Our Bikes with Ellie Blue (Microcosm, 2015). After studying at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, she wrote tech news for MacWEEK and LANTimes magazine. Turning to sustainability and climate change, April contributed to Tomorrow Magazine and was managing editor at Sustainable Industries Journal. Living in Sweden, she was also a correspondent at Windpower Monthly and a blogger TreeHugger website. Finally, April has contributed to Lit Lessons to discuss falling in love with The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. 
April is at work on her first novel and offers an early morning online yoga teaching at Your Morning Yoga. To book a Peer Mentorship consult, click here.

The Blackbird Studio, where good writers become great.

No two writers are alike

Just as every face and fingerprint is different, you are unique and so is your story. Our job is to meet you where you are, right now, and help you grow into your best writing self. Beginning to advanced. You’re welcome here.