Ms Kathryn Abajian

California, United States

A native Californian, I grew up near Los Angeles and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970s. There I reared my children, taught high school English and occasionally studied art history and literature. Seeking a change of pace from high school teaching in the early 1990s, I 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 I 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 my life changes during a decade of research.

I 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. Now I lead the Heart of Memoir Writing Workshops throughout California and in Italy each summer for my program, Italy, in Other Words.  My travel, food, memoir and arts essays have appeared in various publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, American Art Review, Salon, and Travelers’ Tales anthologies.   



  • First Sight of the Desert: Discovering the Art of Ella Peacock , University of Utah Press (May 2005)


  • Program Director, Instructor at Italy, in Other Words Writing Retreats (2006 - )


  • Master of Arts in Composition Studies from San Francisco State University (May 1993)

Genres of Interest

Creative nonfiction