GrubStreet, Inc. is a non-profit creative writing center located in Boston, Massachusetts. Through various workshops, seminars, events and programs, GrubStreet supports writers at all stages of development. According to GrubStreet's website, its mission is "to be an innovative, rigorous, and welcoming community for writers who together create their best work, find audience, and elevate the literary arts for all." Since it was founded, 53 instructors and 22 students have successfully published their books. Among those include New York Times bestselling author Jenna Blum.
GrubStreet is named after Grub Street, a former street in London and a symbol of literacy and publications during the 18th century.
GrubStreet was founded in 1997 in Boston, Massachusetts. Founder Eve Bridburg opened GrubStreet as a place for anyone interested in creative writing to gain instruction and guidance. At first, GrubStreet only offered fiction workshops, had two instructors (Bridburg one of them) and eight students. GrubStreet demonstrated early success when, a year later in 1998, HarperCollins published student Jamie Katz's mystery novel Dead Low Tide. By 2001 GrubStreet had nearly 100 students, more than a dozen instructors, and courses in poetry, screenwriting, nonfiction, and playwriting. GrubStreet became a fully accredited nonprofit in 2002.
Since then, GrubStreet has taught over 10,000 Boston-area writers of all levels and has put over $1 million into the pockets of writers. It has a fully staffed office overlooking Boston Common in downtown Boston and operates on an annual budget of $800,000, funded by grants, donations, and membership dues. New books affiliated with GrubStreet include: Jenna Blum's The Stormchasers; Jonathan Papernick's There is No Other; Lynne Griffin's Sea Escape; Michelle Hoover's "The Quickening;" Marianne Leone's Knowing Jesse; Bruce Machart's The Wake of Forgiveness; Randy Susan Meyers's The Murderer's Daughters and The Comfort Of Lies; Amy MacKinnon's Tethered; Lisa Genova's Still Alice; and Daphne Kalotay's Russian Winter, Nichole Bernier's The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, Julie Wu's forthcoming The Third Son and Henriette Power Lazaridis' forthcoming Clean Monday.
GrubStreet does not offer any writing degrees. Rather, it provides writing instruction that is comparable to an MFA program. The pedagogy is, in effect, to offer classes in both the "muse" (inspiration) and "marketplace" (how to get published). The writing workshops --- courses in poetry, fiction, essay, narrative nonfiction, as well as screen and playwriting --- are run like traditional writing workshops, with weekly group critiques of student work, led by the instructor. Classes in the "Writing Life" (time management, blogging, writer's block, etc.) and publishing and promotion (such as classes on submitting to agents or planning book tours) help writers address the marketplace aspects of their writing careers. Courses can be one-night seminars, weekend workshops, or 6- or 10-week-long workshops.
GrubStreet classes are open to all, however the membership provides discounts and benefits. Members, called “Grubbies,” are given discounts on courses, as well as benefit from discounts at all Boston independent bookstores. Further benefits include discounts on theatre tickets, magazine subscriptions, free access to the GrubStreet space and library.
Muse & the MarketplaceEdit
GrubStreet’s signature event, The Muse and the Marketplace, is a three-day, weekend-long writer’s symposium. It is known for attracting acclaimed authors, agents, and editors to its programs. Hugely successful, the Boston Globe calls it the “highlight of the Boston literary scene”. It is attended by over 900 writers and publishing professionals.
Over the three days, prominent authors lead craft seminars, while agents, editors, and publicists lead sessions on the business aspects of writing. There is also a Manuscript Mart, where writers meet one-on-one with an agent or editor for personalized feedback. Various seminars, lectures, and panels about creative writing and the business of writing are held.
Many bestselling authors and renowned agents and editors have been involved with GrubStreet’s Muse and the Marketplace. In 2010, Chuck Palahniuk was the keynote speaker. Other people of note include: Steve Almond, Jessica Shattuck, Jeanne Leiby, Richard Abate, Elyse Cheney, Lynne Barrett, Martha Southgate, Christina Thompson, Jenni Ferrari-Alder, Lisa Grubka, Maud Casey, Ben Percy, Miriam Altshuler, PJ Mark, Vestal McIntyre, Michael Downing, Joseph Olsham, Elizabeth Evans, Tim Bartlett, Susan Tiberghien, Lauren Grodstein, Leslea Newman, Reagan Arthur, Regina Brooks, Joanna Volpe, Ann Hood, Allison Winn Scotch, Christine Pride, Stephany Evans, Mitchell Waters, Jennifer 8. Lee, Ethan Gilsdorf, Ladette Randolph, Elizabeth Weed, Rebecca Oliver, Thomas Mallon, Anita Shreve, Pamela Dorman, Julie Barer, Sorche Fairbank, Nathaniel Rich, Pablo Medina, Janna Malamud Smith, Jofie Ferrari-Alder, Denise Shannon, Elizabeth Strout, Michelle Hoover, Janet Silver, Amy Einhorn, Bret Anthony Johnston, Donovan Campbell, Katherine Fausset, Jill Kneerim, Elinor Lipman, Randy Susan Meyers, Jenna Blum, Hallie Ephron, Lynne Griffin, Mameve Medwed, and Katharine Sands.[better source needed]
Working with the city of Boston, GrubStreet founded the Memoir Project in 2006, which involves older residents in 10 Boston neighborhoods, including Nantucket, to write. The joint effort aims at teaching and encouraging the elderly to use writing as a creative outlet as well as document and preserve their stories for future generations. Neighborhoods involved include: Chinatown, Charlestown, East Boston, Mattapan, Roxbury, South Boston, and the North End. Two anthologies of collected works have been published: Born Before Plastic and “My Legacy Is Simply This: Stories From Boston’s Most Endearing Neighborhoods.” Another anthology is to be published.
Young Adult Writing Program (YAWP)Edit
GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writing Program (YAWP) offers free writing workshops for all Boston-area teenagers. The program consists of monthly, 4-hour workshops during a Saturday at the downtown offices. Workshops range from poetry and fiction to graphic novel and are taught by Grub Street instructors. YAWP has been recognized as the hub for creative writing teenagers in the Boston area.
Summer Teen FellowshipEdit
GrubStreet runs the YAWP Teen Writing Fellowship, an intensive three-week creative writing program during the summer. Accepted teens are immersed in the writers’ life of craft and publishing: they work with published authors, meet with agents and editors, and receive a stipend for their commitment. GrubStreet aims to mimic writers’ residencies, thus the YAWP Fellowship is by application only. About 20 students are accepted each summer.
National Book PrizeEdit
The GrubStreet Book Prize is awarded three times a year to a writer publishing his/her second book or beyond. As the goal of the prize is to bring writers to Boston, only writers whose primary residence is not Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or Rhode Island are eligible. Though merit is the most important criterion, authors publishing with small presses, writers of short stories, and writers of color are encouraged to apply. Winners of the Book Prize each receive $1000, as well as a book party at GrubStreet’s downtown location and co-sponsored by an independent bookstore. Winners will also lead a seminar of his or her choice, with accommodations, travel, and board provided for by GrubStreet. Fiction and non-fiction winners are invited as guest authors to the next Muse and the Marketplace. The award was discontinued in 2015.
Previous Book Prize winners include:
- Fiction: Sheri Joseph, Stray (MacAdam/Cage)
- Poetry: Linda Gregg, In the Middle Distance (Graywolf Press)
- Non-Fiction: Susan Richards Shreve, Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR’s Polio Haven (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Fiction: Joshua Furst, The Sabotage Café (Alfred A. Knopf)
- Poetry: Rebecca Seiferle, Wild Tongue (Copper Canyon Press)
- Non-Fiction: Dinty W. Moore, Between Panic and Desire (University of Nebraska Press)
- Fiction: Alan Cheuse, To Catch Lightning (Sourcebooks)
- Poetry: Rick Barot, Want (Sarabande Books)
- Non-Fiction: Not awarded
- Fiction: Vestal McIntyre, Lake Overturn (Harper Perennial)
- Poetry: Debra Allbery, Finbul-Winter (Four Way Books)
- Non-Fiction: Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Hiroshima in the Morning (The Feminist Press)
- Non-Fiction Winner: Wendy Call, No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy (The University of Nebraska Press)
- Finalist: Sandra Beasley, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown Publishing)
- Finalist: Daniele Cadena Deulen, The Riots (University of Georgia Press)
- Fiction Winner: Eileen Pollack, Breaking and Entering (Four Way Books)
- Honorable Mention: Mandy Keifetz, Flea Circus: A Bestiary of Grief (New Issues)
- Honorable Mention: Valerie Laken, Separate Kingdoms (Harper Perennial)
- Honorable Mention: Scott Nadelsom, Aftermath (Hawthorne)
- Non-Fiction Winner: Ellen Cassedy, We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust (The University of Nebraska Press)
- Poetry Winner: Rob Schlegel, January Machine (Four Way Books)
- Fiction Winner: Josh Weil, The Great Glass Sea (Grove Atlantic)
Writers associated with Grub Street (former or current instructors, or those on the board) include: Steve Almond, Arthur Golden, Margot Livesey, Sue Miller, Susan Orlean, Tom Perrotta, Michelle Hoover, Alice Hoffman, Jennifer De Leon, Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, Regie Gibson, Sondra Levenson and Ethan Gilsdorf.
- "What Is Grub Street?". Grub Street. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Gardner, Jan (July 4, 2010). "Empowering writers". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Miliard, Mike (October 13, 2005). "Putting in a good word". The Phoenix. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "join grub street". Grub Street. Archived from the original on April 20, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- McKenna, Kathleen (May 4, 2008). "Novices peek at literary world". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "The Muse & the Marketplace 2012". Grub Street. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Young Adult Writers Program". Grub Street. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Junge, Christine (December 24, 2006). "Portrait of the young bards" (PDF). The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "The GrubStreet National Book Prize | 2006 - 2014 | GrubStreet". grubstreet.org. Retrieved 2019-11-21.