GrubStreet is the nation's largest creative writing center. We were founded in 1997 on the core belief that everyone with a desire to write should be taken seriously, taught the craft at a high level, and pushed to produce their best work. We believe that narrative transforms lives, builds bridges, and produces empathy. By rigorously developing voice of every type and talent, and by removing barriers to entry, GrubStreet fosters the creation of meaning stories and ensures that excellent writing remains vital and relevant.
GrubStreet offers the nation's most comprehensive creative writing course catalogue to teens and adults. Our workshops cover the full range of narrative arts—short stories, memoirs, poetry, screenwriting, and publishing—all taught with rigor, support, and community. More than 2,500 students come through our doors each year, including for free programming.
The premier Muse and the Marketplace Conference brings together publishers, editors, agents and writers for three days of learning and networking each year.
We also offer intensive Incubator programs, an immersive exploration of craft that runs six months to a year, covers the novel, memoir, or short fiction, and enables advanced writers to develop or revise their manuscripts as they prepare for publishing.
GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP) serves students ages 13-18 from high schools all over the greater Boston area through three programs—Free Saturday Sessions, which are hosted once a month during the school year, week-long Teen Writing Camps, and an annual three-week Summer Fellowship Program—as well as a Slam Poetry Team.
Through partnerships with the Boston Public Library (BPL) and the Brookview House, GrubStreet offers free creative writing programming to adults and teens who visit local BPL branches and shelters in the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston.
Last year, GrubStreet awarded the largest number of scholarships in the organization's history: 225, more than twice the number of scholarships awarded in 2015. In total, GrubStreet supported 1,007 students through scholarships and free programming. By deepening our investment in subsidies and free programming, we plan to continue increasing the accessibility of our programs for writers who come from low-income communities during 2017.
GrubStreet also partnered with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to launch Write Down the Street in September 2016, with the mission of holding one free writing class per week at local library branches. These one-hour drop-ins took place in Dorchester (Grove Hall) and Roxbury (Egleston Square) and were open to the public. The program, designed to eliminate barriers created by tuition costs, location, and time commitment, hosted 72 attendees, approximately 75% of whom were residents of the neighborhoods in which the classes took place. We are expanding Write Down the Street to new BPL branches in 2017.
In July 2016, GrubStreet launched our inaugural Writers of Color Group to build a space where writers of color can connect, share their experiences in a safe space, and discuss important issues. We hope that the ongoing monthly meetings of the Writers of Color Group, in addition to the Writers of Color Track that launched at the Muse and the Marketplace Conference in May 2017, will begin to fulfill the expressed need for more networking opportunities for writers of color. In response to the creation of the group, students have said, "The comfort level of the moderators discussing potentially volatile subject matter is appreciated. Very fair, smart, thought-provoking discussions."
In addition to the community offered through the Writers of Color Group, GrubStreet has continued to advocate for inclusion in the literary world through our blog and the annual Muse and the Marketplace Conference. With the goal of relaunching to focus on inclusion, in 2016 the GrubWrites blog included a "Writing & Publishing as a Person of Color" series in addition to more posts to the #WhatAnAuthorLooksLike series, which highlights books written by writers from communities underrepresented in the publishing industry. Additionally, the 2016 Muse and the Marketplace Conference hosted a number of panels that addressed issues of race and representation in literature and publishing, such as "Writing Responsibly and Killing Stereotypes in 'Ethnic' and 'LGBTQ' Literature" presented by Jennie Wood, Henriette Lazardis, and Marjan Kamali. These sessions provided a space to advocate for inclusion in the publishing field and eventually led to the launch of a Writers of Color Track at the conference in 2017, which included panels hosted by writer, critic, and performer David Mura and the second iteration of the “Agents and Editors of Color Roundtable.”
GrubStreet's current 5-year strategic plan focuses on expanding access, diversifying participation, and deepening our commitment to the next generation of writers. The plan identifies several initiatives to achieve this vision, including significantly expanding the number and amount of scholarships for youth and adult writers and offering free writing workshops in Boston’s low-income neighborhoods. We have already secured major funding from foundations, which has allowed us to take substantial steps forward.