Board & Literary Council

Board
BIO

Having begun her career in finance, Jeannie Blasberg is now a writer and active GrubStreet student.  She is currently working on her second novel, splitting her time between Boston and Westerly, RI.  She is a nationally ranked squash player who served as the first female board chair of US Squash, the sport’s century old national governing body.  During her tenure at US Squash, she oversaw sweeping governance changes and led the organization’s first strategic planning process, creating a platform for financial stability and increased fundraising.  She is a volunteer squash coach at SquashBusters, an urban youth squash program located on the Northeastern campus. In addition to coaching there, she has co-chaired the organization’s major annual fundraiser numerous times.  Jeannie loves adventure travel especially with her husband, John, and their three grown children.

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BIO

Eve Bridburg is the Founder and Executive Director of GrubStreet. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a national literary powerhouse by expanding offerings to better educate and equip writers in the digital age, launching new, innovative programming for advanced students, and significantly expanding scholarship opportunities to ensure access. Eve curated GrubStreet’s NEA-funded Publish it Forward lecture series and our innovative Launch Lab, led GrubStreet’s Diversity Task force, laying the foundation for GrubStreet’s next chapter, and was the driving force behind establishing the country’s first Literary Cultural District in downtown Boston. Eve’s work has been recognized by Boston Magazine, who named her one of Boston’s 50 most powerful women in 2010, and by â€‹BostInno Magazine who gave her their 2014 Arts and Entertainment Award for driving innovation in Boston. Having graduated from its inaugural class, Eve remains active with the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a consortium of 200 of the world’s top cultural leaders, which addresses the critical issues that face the arts and cultural sector worldwide. Eve has presented on publishing, the future of publishing, and on what it takes to build a literary arts center at numerous conferences, including AWP, O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, GrubStreet’s own The Muse and the Marketplace, Whidbey Island Writers Conference, The Sanibel Island Writers Conference, and Writers at Work. Her essays and op-eds on publishing, the role of creative writing centers and the importance of the narrative arts have appeared in The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Cognoscenti, Writer's Digest and TinHouse.  Eve worked as a literary agent at The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency for five happy years where she developed, edited, and sold a wide variety of books to major publishers. Before starting GrubStreet, she attended Boston University’s Writing program on a teaching fellowship, farmed in Oregon, and ran an international bookstore in Prague.

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Deborah Plummer, PhD is Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Medical School with primary responsibility for establishing the vision, providing leadership, strategic direction and coordination for all human resources and diversity initiatives. She has held past positions as a chief diversity officer for a large hospital system, a university professor, the founding director of a graduate degree program in diversity management, and a staff psychologist in a university counseling center. She has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and is an award-winning author of Racing Across the Lines: Changing Race Relations through Friendships (Pilgrim Press) and the Editor of Handbook of Diversity Management (Rowman & Littlefield). 

After many years of writing scholarly works for professional audiences, she began writing fiction for cathartic relief.  The plots in her Sister Nun Mystery Series take their inspiration from her functioning dysfunctional family, her former life as a nun, and colorful patients she counseled in her former clinical practice.  Unlike her academic writing which includes hundreds of citations, readers of her novels have to guess what parts are based on truth and what parts are total fantasies.  As a regularly featured blogger for Huffington Post, a commentator for media outlets, and a key-note speaker, Deborah’s engaging, enthusiastic and entertaining style brings home an instructive message without sacrificing substance.

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BIO

Christy Cashman is a writer, producer, filmmaker and advocate for story telling in all its forms. Her pursuit of acting and writing lead her to Los Angeles, where she studied acting under Janet Alhanti who taught the Sandy Meisner technique. During this time, she also read scripts for a producer at Paramount which gave her insight into the anatomy of a screenplay and story in general. At the age of twenty-four she wrote, directed and produced a short film called “The Little Things.” The film went to more than forty festivals and won several awards. She then created and produced a pilot called “The Carrie White Show”. Shortly thereafter, she starred in a short film, “Night Deposit” that won the audience award at Slamdance in 2000.

This myriad of experiences showed Christy that she was interested in all aspects of film making, and lead to her forming Saint Aire Productions, her own company. Through Saint Aire, she creates, writes, options and produces projects. The “Open Book Club” was created when a conversation inspired her while hosting the PEN New England Event at her home. Several notable authors and guests engaged in a discussion that she knew was worth capturing on film. The combination of her background in film and her love for story allowed a natural segue for this project. Christy has written three more feature length scripts and her latest, “Sunny Side Up,” was completed this year. She continues to act and has participated in over twenty feature films. In 2007 she produced a short animation with Whoopi Goldberg in which they also did the voiceover. In 2010, she produced "The Kids are All Right" starring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening.

Christy is also a central player in the New England independent film community. She has held fundraisers for: The Boston Underground Film Festival, The Coolidge Corner Theatre, The Longy School of Music, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. She has hosted the Nantucket Film Festival where “The Kite Runner” was prescreened.

In addition to be on the board at Grub Street, Christy is on the board of “No Kidding Me Too,” Joey Pantaliono’s organization, the MA Sports and Entertainment Commission, the Woods Hole Film Festival and the board of Overseers at Epiphany School.

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AREAS OF INTEREST

Cross-cultural, international, family, feminism, travel, literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. 

BIO

Jennifer De Leon is the winner of the 2011 Fourth Genre Michael Steinberg Essay Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Brevity, Ms., Briar Cliff Review, Poets & Writers, Guernica, The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and elsewhere. She has published author interviews in Granta and Agni, and she has been awarded scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Blue Mountain Center, and the Sandra Cisneros Macondo Writers’ Workshop. The editor of the anthology, Wise Latina: Writers on Higher Education(University of Nebraska Press, 2013), she is also working on a memoir and a novel.

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AREAS OF INTEREST

Genres of writing I'm drawn to: Memoir; narrative nonfiction; personal narrative; personal essay; commentary/op-ed; stunt/immersion ("gonzo") journalism.

Subject areas I'm drawn to: I love writing on all topics, but in particular, I'm drawn to personal essays, narrative nonfiction and stories about travel, pop culture, geek culture, fantasy/science fiction; subcultures; overcoming family/medical trauma; childhood, adolescence.

I also help students reach their goals in publishing their work -- with a particular focus on the personal essay and oped --- as well as submitting work to agents and editors, and writing nonfiction book proposals. I can serve as a personal writing coach and writing career planner. 

BIO

A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd.

He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, named a Must-Read Book by the Massachusetts Book Awards. His work has been cited in the anthology Best American Essays 2016.

His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in PoetryThe Southern ReviewThe QuarterlyExquisite CorpseThe North American ReviewThe Massachusetts Review, New York Quarterly and dozens of other literary magazines and in several anthologies. He is the winner of the Hobblestock Peace Poetry Competition and the Esme Bradberry Contemporary Poets Prize; has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center; and grants from the Somerville Arts Council and Vermont Arts Council.

Gilsdorf got his start in journalism as a Paris-based travel writer and food and film critic for Time Out, Fodor's and the Washington Post. Now, Gilsdorf primarily covers the arts; pop, gaming and geek culture; and media and technology, for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, Wired, Salon, and WBUR's The Artery. His commentaries have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, WBUR's Cognoscenti, Newsday,  and elsewhere. He reviews movies for the Boston Globe and Art New England magazine, and reviews books for the New York Times Book Review and Boston Globe. He has published hundreds of feature stories, essays, op-eds and reviews in dozens of other publications worldwide, and frequently appears on NPR, The Discovery Channel, PBS, CBC, BBC, the Learning Channel, and on podcasts. A regular presenter, performer, and event moderator, he also lectures at schools, universities, festivals, conventions, and conferences worldwide, including at this TEDx event, where he nerded out about D&D.


Gilsdorf is co-founder of GrubStreet's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), and teaches creative writing at GrubStreet, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He also serves on the Boston Book Festival Program Committee and is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics.


He received his BA from Hampshire College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University.



Follow Ethan’s adventures at ethangilsdorf.com or Twitter @ethanfreak, and read his posts on Grub's blog, GrubWrites.

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BIO
Jill Karp is the owner of Nantucket Island Resorts, whose luxury properties include The Wauwinet, the White Elephant, the White Elephant Village Residences & Inn, the Jared Coffin House, The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, and the Nantucket Boat Basin. Karp is a Board Member and past President of the Children’s Hospital League, Children’s Hospital Boston Board of Overseers, and Children’s Hospital Boston Member. She also serves on the boards of the Nantucket Comedy Festival, the Theatre Workshop on Nantucket, and is a founding member of the Nantucket Project. Karp has also been friend and ambassador to Facing History & Ourselves for over twenty years. Karp’s passion for education began in the classroom as a schoolteacher. She's a book lover and joined GrubStreet's Board of Directors in 2017.

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BIO

A former speech pathologist at various hospitals and nursing associations in the Boston area, Sondra Levenson is an active GrubStreet student, writer, and philanthropist. Her publications include Jewish Magic Protected My Sister, published in Lilith Magazine and The Switch, published in Voices of Caregiving. In recent years, she has chaired fundraising efforts in support of MGH and Lung Cancer Awareness. She also speaks frequently about lung cancer awareness In Boston and New York City. Her current affiliations include The Coolidge, Hadassah, and Uniting Against Lung Cancer. She is a former overseer of the Boston Ballet and a past president of The Friends of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. She is currently at work on her first novel about Marriage and Sisterhood.

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Jeff Mayersohn is co-owner, along with his wife, Linda Seamonson, of Harvard Book Store, an independent bookstore founded in 1932. Since Jeff and Linda assumed ownership in 2008, the bookstore has initiated same-day “green” delivery and print-on-demand via an Espresso Book Machine. Jeff spent three decades working on the development of the Internet, holding research and executive positions at several technology companies including Internet pioneer, Bolt Beranek and Newman. At BBN, Jeff served as Senior Vice President in the Communications Division, where he was responsible for the design of some of the earliest electronic mail networks and the deployment of the America Online network. From 1998 until 2008, Mr. Mayersohn was an executive at Sonus Networks, a venture-funded start-up that became a market leader in Internet telephony. A physicist by training, Jeff has degrees from Harvard and Yale. He also serves on the boards of 826 Boston and the Boston Book Festival.

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Augusta Meill helps organizations become more innovative. She works with clients through the experience of disruptive innovation and its effects on the people, processes, culture, and structures of a company.

 At Continuum, where Augusta is Vice President of Program Development, she has worked in categories such as financial services (BBVA, Sun Life Financial), healthcare (United Healthcare, CVS, Quest Diagnostics), consumer packaged goods (PepsiCo, Abbott Nutrition), and non-profit/NGOs (The World Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters.) Her interest is in developing service ecosystems that look holistically at experiences across channels and touchpoints to better serve people.

 Prior to joining Continuum, Augusta worked in the design communities of Los Angeles and New York, helping companies communicate how their design offerings were a key point of differentiation. Augusta has a BA in American Studies from Yale University.

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BIO

Tim Oliveri is CEO and co-founder of Piperi Restaurants, a venture he began with his business partner in 2011 after eleven years spent as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Au Bon Pain Corporation. While Tim was Planning Director at Au Bon Pain in the 1990's, the company launched Panera Bread and in 1999 spun off Au Bon Pain to Compass Group, a UK food service company. As CFO, Tim led a leveraged management buy-out of Au Bon Pain from Compass Group in 2005. He worked to refinance the debt and eventually recapitalize the company with a sale to a private equity group in 2008. Prior to Au Bon Pain, Tim had Financial Management roles at Pepsi-Cola and was the Controller at the Walking Company Magazine. Tim has served on the boards of Au Bon Corporation and the Massachusetts Chess Association. He earned a BSBA in Accounting at Suffolk University and attended the MBA program at Babson College.

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BIO

Katherine Sherbrooke is the author of the forthcoming novel, Fill the Sky (SixOneSeven Books, 2016) and a family memoir, Finding Home. She is also the proud owner of the Hemingway House writing retreat in Southern Massachusetts. Prior to her writing life, she co-founded Circles, a full service concierge and loyalty marketing company headquartered in Boston, and served as President and then CEO from 1995-2009. She lives and writes in Cohasset with her husband, two sons, and black lab.

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Anita Shreve is the author of over 13 novels, among them The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met, A Wedding in December, and Body Surfing.

In 1998, Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction. In 1999, she received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey, and The Pilot's Wife became the 25th selection of Oprah's Book Club and an international bestseller. In April 2002, CBS aired the film version of The Pilot's Wife, starring Christine Lahti, and in fall 2002, The Weight of Water, starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn, was released in movie theaters. And in 2010 she was awarded the John P. Marquand Prize in American Literature.

Still in love with the novel form, Shreve writes only in that genre. "The best analogy I can give to describe writing for me is daydreaming," she says. "A certain amount of craft is brought to bear, but the experience feels very dreamlike."

Shreve is married to a man she met when she was 13. She has two children and three stepchildren, and in the last eight years has made tuition payments to seven colleges and universities.

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Literary Council
BIO

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, most recently "Against Football." He has three rambunctious children, one patient wife, and significant debt.

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Born in New York City, Julia Alvarez spent the first ten years of her life in her family's native country, the Dominican Republic. In 1960, her family was forced to flee to the United States because of her father's involvement in a plot to overthrow the dictator Trujillo.

Alvarez has been practicing the craft of writing for over forty years. She has brought a variety of work to readers of all ages, including novels, like How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of Butterflies; picturebooks; the Tía Lola stories for middle readers; novels for young adults, among them Before We Were Free and Finding Miracles; collections of poetry, including The Woman I Kept to Myself; and nonfiction, most recently A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship. She has also taught English and creative writing at every level, from elementary schools to senior citizen centers. She is currently a writer in residence at Middlebury College. With her husband, Bill Eichner, she founded Alta Gracia, a sustainable farm and literacy center in the Dominican Republic.

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Julie Barer established her own agency in 2004 after six years at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Barer Literary is a full-service boutique agency that represents a variety of writers across a literary spectrum, with an emphasis on fiction. Clients include National Book Award finalist Joshua Ferris, award winning short story writer Gina Ochsner, bestselling novelists Paula McLain, Helen Simonson and Kevin Wilson, and prize winning crime writer Zoe Ferraris. Writing by her clients has appeared inThe New YorkerThe New York TimesBest American Non-Required ReadingNew Stories From the SouthBest New American VoicesTin HouseGranta, and various other publications, and has received numerous awards and honors, including grants from The National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Los Angeles Times First Book Award, and the Flannery O'Connor Award. Before becoming an agent Julie was a bookseller at Shakespeare & Company in New York.

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AREAS OF INTEREST

Are you working on a novel or short story and you keep getting the "We love this, but it's not for us" rejection letter? Jenna Blum may be the consultant for you. Jenna is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers and the novella "The Lucky One" in postwar anthology Grand Central; she is one of Oprah's Top Thirty Women Writers and has been teaching fiction and novel workshops at Grub since 1998. Jenna is interested in consulting on novels, novellas and short stories in their final stages of revision; she specializes in literary and some eras of historical fiction. (No genre, please!) Jenna will also provide consultation on troubleshooting your novel's outline, perfecting your query letter and creating/ fine-tuning your social media platform. Known for contributing to her novels' success via her marketing tactics,  Jenna will help you identify your comfort zone and skills and help you create a marketing platform on social media and in person. Jenna specializes in Facebook, Twitter, and mainstream social media as well as writer websites, book club connection and public speaking. 

Consultations accepted via submission only. Jenna's fee is $125/hour. Please contact Jenna via Grub or her website, www.jennablum.com.

BIO

Jenna Blum is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers and novella "The Lucky One" in anthology Grand Central. Jenna is also one of Oprah's Top 30 Women Writers. Jenna has taught for GrubStreet since 1997 and is thrilled to be returning.  

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Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York. Her agency has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. Her authors have appeared inUSA Today, New York Times and the Washington Post as well as on Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSBNC, TV ONE, BET and a host of others. She has held senior editorial positions at John Wiley and Sons and McGraw-Hill companies. Brooks is the author of the titles Never Finished Never Done(Scholastic), Writing Great Books For Young Adults (Source Books), and You Should (Really) Write A Book: How To Write, Sell, And Market Your Memoir (St. Martin’s Press), has edited over nearly 100 titles and is a blogger for the Huffington Post and Essence.com. Brooks is also on the faculty of the Harvard University publishing course and the Whidbey Island Writers MFA program and annually teaches at more than twenty worldwide conferences. She has been highlighted in global media outlets including Forbes, Media Bistro, Essence magazine, Ebony magazine, Writer’s Digest magazine, The Writer, Jet, Rolling Outand Publisher’s Weekly. She also is a co-publisher of an imprint of Akashic called Open Lens.

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Jaime Clarke is a graduate of the University of Arizona and holds an MFA from Bennington College. He is the author of the novel We're So Famous (Bloomsbury USA), editor of Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Huges (Simon & Schuster), Conversations with Jonathan Lethem (University Press of Mississippi), and co-editor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road Magazine (Dzanc) as well as Boston Noir 2: The Classics (Akashic) with Dennis Lehane. He is a founding editor of the literary magazine Post Road and has taught creative writing at UMass-Boston and Emerson College. He is co-owner of Newtonville Books.

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jaimeclarke.com


BIO

Ayanna Coleman founded Quill Shift Literary Agency in 2013. With an educational background in marketing and English, Ayanna has worked within the publishing industry at a publishing house, literary agencies, as a book reviewer, programming and event director, and many years as a children’s librarian. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, currently the top program in the nation. 

As a child, and later as a librarian, Ayanna noticed that the books that could capture a child’s imagination and create a lifelong reader were not getting into children’s hands. Children (and their parents, teachers, and librarians) weren’t discovering the right books…or they hadn’t been created yet. With that in mind, Ayanna created Quill Shift Literary Agency to not only help usher books worthy of inspiring a passion for reading in children through the publication process, but to also encourage worthwhile story discovery before the book is even published. 

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Mary Cotton is a graduate of Williams College and holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine and an MA in English Literature from Boston University. She is the pseudonymous author of nine novels for young adults, six of them New York Times bestsellers. She's also a fiction editor for the literary magazine, Post Road, and is co-editor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work From Post Road Magazine (Dzanc) as well as Boston Noir 2: The Classics (Akashic) with Dennis Lehane. She is co-owner of Newtonville Books.

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Andre Dubus III grew up in mill towns on the Merrimack River along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. He began writing fiction at age 22 just a few months after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology. He is the author of a collection of short fiction, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, the novels Bluesman, House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days, and memoir Townie. He is a New York Times bestselling author and his work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999, and The Best of Hope Magazine. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for fiction, The Pushcart Prize, and was a Finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters. An Academy Award-nominated motion picture and published in twenty languages, his novel House of Sand and Fog was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize, Booksense Book of the Year, and was an Oprah Book Club Selection and #1 New York Timesbestseller. A member of PEN American Center, Andre Dubus III has served as a panelist for The National Book Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and has taught writing at Harvard University, Tufts University, Emerson College, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he is a full-time faculty member.

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andredubus.com


BIO

Since establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic and varied list, representing best-selling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and of course one of her favorite kinds of client – the debut author. Tastes in novels tend toward literary fiction, international voices, and women’s voices. On the nonfiction side, books that tackle current events and topical and societal issues with a narrative treatment. She has a strong interest in women’s voices and class and race issues, quality lifestyle books (food, wine, design), memoir that goes beyond the me-moir, and humor, gift books, and pop culture. 

Authors and books represented by Fairbank Literary include: O. Henry Prize winner Charlotte Forbes; Ethan Gilsdorf, Pulitzer nominee & LA Times Cairo Bureau Chief Jeffrey Fleishman; Edgar winner Rex Burns, Matthew Frederick and his best-selling 101 Things I Learned series;  Eudora Welty prize winner Miroslav Penkov (East of the West), Jonathan McCullough’s A Tale Of Two Subs: An Untold Story Of World War II, Essayist Jessica Handler; New Yorker cartoonist Drew Dernavich; Sharron Kahn Luttrell, author ofWeekends With Daisy. Humor and gift book clients include Chuck Sambuchino (How To Survive a Garden Gnome Attack), Terry Border (Bent Objects empire), and Carl Warner (Carl Warner’s Food Landscapes).

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@FairbankLit


AREAS OF INTEREST

Genres of writing I'm drawn to: Memoir; narrative nonfiction; personal narrative; personal essay; commentary/op-ed; stunt/immersion ("gonzo") journalism.

Subject areas I'm drawn to: I love writing on all topics, but in particular, I'm drawn to personal essays, narrative nonfiction and stories about travel, pop culture, geek culture, fantasy/science fiction; subcultures; overcoming family/medical trauma; childhood, adolescence.

I also help students reach their goals in publishing their work -- with a particular focus on the personal essay and oped --- as well as submitting work to agents and editors, and writing nonfiction book proposals. I can serve as a personal writing coach and writing career planner. 

BIO

A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd.

He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, named a Must-Read Book by the Massachusetts Book Awards. His work has been cited in the anthology Best American Essays 2016.

His fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in PoetryThe Southern ReviewThe QuarterlyExquisite CorpseThe North American ReviewThe Massachusetts Review, New York Quarterly and dozens of other literary magazines and in several anthologies. He is the winner of the Hobblestock Peace Poetry Competition and the Esme Bradberry Contemporary Poets Prize; has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center; and grants from the Somerville Arts Council and Vermont Arts Council.

Gilsdorf got his start in journalism as a Paris-based travel writer and food and film critic for Time Out, Fodor's and the Washington Post. Now, Gilsdorf primarily covers the arts; pop, gaming and geek culture; and media and technology, for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, Wired, Salon, and WBUR's The Artery. His commentaries have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, WBUR's Cognoscenti, Newsday,  and elsewhere. He reviews movies for the Boston Globe and Art New England magazine, and reviews books for the New York Times Book Review and Boston Globe. He has published hundreds of feature stories, essays, op-eds and reviews in dozens of other publications worldwide, and frequently appears on NPR, The Discovery Channel, PBS, CBC, BBC, the Learning Channel, and on podcasts. A regular presenter, performer, and event moderator, he also lectures at schools, universities, festivals, conventions, and conferences worldwide, including at this TEDx event, where he nerded out about D&D.


Gilsdorf is co-founder of GrubStreet's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), and teaches creative writing at GrubStreet, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He also serves on the Boston Book Festival Program Committee and is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics.


He received his BA from Hampshire College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University.



Follow Ethan’s adventures at ethangilsdorf.com or Twitter @ethanfreak, and read his posts on Grub's blog, GrubWrites.

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Arthur Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was educated at Harvard College, where he received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980 he earned an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. Following a summer at Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo, and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in English from Boston University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. Memoirs of a Geisha, Golden's brilliant debut novel and sensational bestseller, tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

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Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is a novelist and philosopher. She was educated at Barnard College and Princeton University (Ph.D. in philosophy). She has received many prizes for her fiction and scholarship, including a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Her first novel was the critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind-Body Problem, and there have been six more works of fiction since, including The Dark SisterMazel (winner of the National Jewish Book Award), and Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics. She is also the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, which was chosen as one of the best science books of the year by Discover Magazine, and of Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, which won the Koret International Award for Jewish Thought. She has been awarded several honorary doctorates, Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been chosen as the Humanist of the Year 2011 by the American Humanist Association. Her latest novel, entitled 36 Arguments for The Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, was published in January, 2010. She is currently a research associate at Harvard University.

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Jennifer Haigh is the author of four novels – FaithThe ConditionBaker Towers, and Mrs. Kimble. She has won both the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England writer. Her short stories have been published in The Atlantic,Granta, and many other magazines.

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Esmond Harmsworth is a founding partner of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. Born in London, he was educated in England before graduating magna cum laude from Brown University and cum laude from Harvard Law School. As a literary agent, Harmsworth represents fiction and nonfiction.

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Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine; the short story collection, An Ornithologist's Guide to Life; and the memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was named one of the top ten non-fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She recently edited the anthology, Knitting Yarns: Writers Writing About Knitting. She has won Best American Spiritual, Food, and Travel Writing Awards and two Pushcart Prizes. Her most recent novel, The Obituary Writer, was an Oprah Pick, the November Book Club book for The Ladies Home Journal, and named as one of the top ten books of 2013 by Amazon.com. She lives in Providence, RI.

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Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of internationally acclaimed Corpus Christi: Stories and the editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. Named a best book of the year by The Independent of London and The Irish TimesCorpus Christi has received numerous awards. Johnston’s work appears in magazines such as The Paris ReviewThe New York Times Magazine,EsquireThe Oxford American, and Tin House, and in anthologies such as New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best for 2003, 2004, and 2005. He is a graduate of Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the recipient of the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. He has written essays for Slate.com and is a regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered. In 2006, the National Book Foundation honored him with a new National Book Award for writers under thirty-five. A skateboarder for almost twenty years, Johnston is currently the director of the Creative Writing Program at Harvard University.

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Pagan Kennedy is the author of ten books and has won numerous literary prizes. Her publishers include Viking Press, Simon & Schuster, and Bloomsbury. Pagan has been a contributor to The New York Times MagazineThe NYT Book ReviewThe Village VoiceDwellDetailsMs.PlayboyThe Nation,Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe Magazine. In 2009, Pagan was Dartmouth College’s visiting writer of nonfiction. She has also taught writing — both fiction and nonfiction — at the Warren Wilson MFA program, Boston College, Johns Hopkins, and many conferences and residencies.

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BIO

Don Lee’s latest book is the novel The Collective, which won the 2013 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. He is also the author of the novels Wrack and Ruin and Country of Origin, and the story collection Yellow — all published by W. W. Norton. He has received an American Book Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Fred R. Brown Literary Award. His stories have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewGQ,American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. He teaches in the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

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Elinor Lipman is the author of Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus(Beacon Press, 2012). She is the author of nine novels, including The Inn at Lake DevineThen She Found Me, and, most recently, The Family Man.

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Margot Livesey was born and grew up on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. She has taught in numerous writing programs including the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Boston University, and the Warren Wilson MFA program, and is the author of a collection of stories and six novels, including Eva Moves The Furniture and most recently The House On Fortune Street which won the LL Winship/PEN New England award. She lives in Cambridge and is a distinguished writer-in-residence at Emerson College in Boston. Her novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, was published early in 2012.

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Stephen McCauley is the author of five previous novels, including The Object of My AffectionTrue Enough, and Alternatives to Sex. Two of his novels have been made into feature films. He teaches at Brandeis University.

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Pablo Medina is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translation, most recently the novel Cubop City Blues and, with photographer Carlos Ordoñez, the poetry collection Calle Habana. Medina’s work has appeared in several languages, among them Spanish, French, German, and Arabic, and in periodicals and magazines throughout the world. He was a member of the AWP board of directors from 2002-2007, serving as president from 2005 – 2006. Winner of numerous awards, among them grants from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, the NEA, and others, Medina is currently professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston.

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Mameve Medwed (named for two grandmothers, Mamie and Eva) is the author of the novels, Mail,Host FamilyThe End of an ErrorHow Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (2007 Massachusetts Book Awards Fiction Honor), and Of Men and Their Mothers. Her stories, essays, and book reviews have appeared in, among others, The New York TimesGourmetThe Boston GlobeThe Hartford CourantThe Missouri ReviewNewsdayYankeeRedbookPlaygirl, and The Washington Post. Born in Bangor, Maine (and claiming the title: “Bangor’s other novelist”), she and her husband have two grown sons and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Sue Miller is the best-selling author of the novels The Senator's WifeLost in the ForestThe World BelowWhile I Was GoneThe Distinguished GuestFor LoveFamily Pictures, and The Good Mother; the story collection Inventing the Abbots; and the memoir The Story of My Father. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Asya Muchnick is an Executive Editor and has been at Little, Brown since 2001. She acquires literary and upmarket crime fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, including history, biography, cultural history, and popular science. Among the authors she has worked with are Jo Ann Beard, Mark Childress, Michael Connelly, Zoë Ferraris, Janet Fitch, Pete Hamill, Alice Hoffman, Richard Lange, James E. McWilliams, Stephenie Meyer, Robert Mrazek, Carolyn Parkhurst, Sebastian Rotella, Alice Sebold, Åsne Seierstad, David Sedaris, Anita Shreve, and Peter Trachtenberg.

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Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book for 2014, and Amazon's #1 Best Book of the Year 2014. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One StoryTriQuarterlyBellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.

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Susan Orlean is a New Yorker staff writer and the author of several acclaimed books, including the best selling Orchid Thief, which was made into the film “Adaptation.” Her article “Life’s Swell” was the basis for the film “Blue Crush.” A prolific journalist, Susan has written for and worked for countless publications, including two local favorites, The Boston Globe and the Boston Phoenix. Her most recent book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, traces the life of the canine star from his humble roots in Europe through international stardom.

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Pamela Painter's first collection of stories, Getting to Know the Weather, won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and was reissued as A Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary in 2008. Her second collection of stories, also from Carnegie Mellon, is titled The Long and Short of It. Painter is co-author, with Anne Bernays, of the widely-used textbook What If? Fiction Exercises for Fiction Writers. Painter's individual stories have appeared in The Atlantic MonthlyHarper'sKenyon ReviewNorth American Review, and Ploughshares, and in numerous anthologies, including Sudden FictionFlash FictionFlash Fiction Forward, and Microfiction. The winner of three Pushcart Prizes and Agni's John Cheever Award for Fiction, Painter has received grants from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories have been produced by Word Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, and Stage Turner. Additionally, her story titled "Reading in His Wake" was recorded for the CD Love Hurts, by W.W. Norton. Her newest book is a collection of "very short stories," published by Carnegie Mellon, titled Wouldn't You Like to Know.

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Tom Perrotta is the author of seven books, including The LeftoversThe Abstinence TeacherJoe CollegeBad Haircut, and the The Wishbones. His novels, Election and Little Children, were turned into acclaimed movies, and Perrotta was nominated for an Academy Award, along with director Todd Field, for their screenplay for Little Children. Perrotta's work has also appeared in Rolling StoneGQThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and Best American Short Stories 2005. He lives with his family outside of Boston.

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AREAS OF INTEREST

Thematic interests include but are not limited to contemporary fiction, women's issues, travel, class, humor, race. Please contact for rates.

BIO

Heidi Pitlor has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007. Previously, she was a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for ten years. She is the author of the novels The Birthdays (W.W. Norton, 2006) and The Daylight Marriage (Algonquin, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and many other places. She will join the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Regis College in Denver in 2017.

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Ayanna Pressley is a Boston City Councilor At-Large whose career has been marked by history-making campaigns and a relentless determination to advance a political agenda focused on breaking cycles of poverty and violence. Pressley was first elected to the Boston City Council on November 3, 2009. In doing so, Pressley became the first woman of color ever elected to that position. During her time in office, Pressley created and is chairing a new standing committee, the Committee on Women & Healthy Communities. The committee is devoted to the causes that she has always been most devoted to: stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty and addressing issues which disproportionately impact women and girls. The Boston Globe Magazine named Pressley one of its 2011 Bostonians of the Year. BET recognized her with its 2011 Leading Woman Award. The Urban League honored Pressley as a Woman of Power at its 2011 national convention.

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Ladette Randolph is editor-in-chief of Ploughshares and the author of three books of fiction, two novels Haven’s Wake (forthcoming, spring 2013) and A Sandhills Ballad and the award-winning short story collection This Is Not the Tropics. In addition, she is the editor of two anthologies: A Different Plainand The Big Empty. Dr. Randolph is on the faculty of the Writing, Literature, and Publishing department at Emerson College in Boston. Prior to joining the staff at Ploughshares she was an acquiring editor and associate director at University of Nebraska Press. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Rona Jaffe grant, the Virginia Faulkner Award, a Best New American Voices citation, and four Nebraska Book Awards.

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Rishi Reddi is the author of Karma and Other Stories, published by Ecco/HarperCollins and winner of the 2008 PEN New England / L.L. Winship prize for fiction. Her short stories have been aired onNational Public Radio, performed at New York City's Symphony Space, and published in Best American Short StoriesHarvard Review, and Prairie Schooner, among other journals. Her essays and translations have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Asian American Literary Review, and the Partisan Review. In addition to her writing life, she is also an environmental lawyer and has worked for state and federal environmental agencies for the past twenty years. Her first novel, West, is forthcoming.

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BIO

Hank Phillippi Ryan is the investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate. A television journalist since 1975, she has won 27 Emmys and ten Edward R. Murrow awards for her work. A best-selling author of four mystery novels, Ryan has won the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards for her crime fiction. She’s on the national board of directors of Mystery Writers of America (and an instructor at MWA-U) and vice president of National Sisters in Crime. Her newest suspense thriller,The Other Woman, is the first in a new series beginning in 2012 from Forge Books.

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Martha Southgate is the author of four novels. Her newest, The Taste of Salt, was published in September 2011 and was named one of the best novels of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her essay “Writers Like Me,” published in theNew York Times Book Review, appears in the anthology Best African-American Essays 2009. Previous non-fiction articles have appeared in The New York Times MagazineOEntertainment Weekly, andEssence.

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Sebastian Stuart has written novels, plays, screenplays, and has ghostwritten in every genre imaginable. As a playwright, he was dubbed “the poet laureate of the Lower East Side” by Michael Musto in The Village Voice. His first novel, The Mentor, is a psychological thriller. 24-Karat Kids, written with Dr. Judy Goldstein, was published in eight countries. Charm! by Kendall Hart was aNew York Times bestselling tie-in with the soap opera "All My Children." The Hour Between was a National Public Radio Season’s Reading pick and won the Ferro-Grumley Award as best LGBT novel of 2009. To the Manor Dead, the first in a mystery series set in the Hudson Valley, was published in 2010; the second book in the series, Dead by Any Other Name, was released in October 2011.

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Christina Thompson is the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, a memoir of her years in the South Pacific. She holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the NEA, NEH, Australia Council, and Arts Victoria. Her essays have appeared in Vogue, the American Scholar, the London TimesNew Zealand Geographic, and other publications. She teaches in the writing program at Harvard University Extension.

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Elisabeth Weed formed Weed Literary LLC in 2007. Elisabeth has worked in the publishing industry for 10 years, at Curtis Brown, Kneerim and Williams, and Trident Media Group, before opening her own agency. Elisabeth’s commitment to working with authors not just on individual titles, but for the long term—both in developing writing careers and in building platforms in their areas of expertise—continues. Weed Literary is a full service agency, representing a diverse list of authors. The agency is always on the lookout for both commercial and literary fiction with a focus on up-market women’s fiction as well as an eclectic mix of non-fiction, with an emphasis on narrative, memoir, investigative and women’s issues from the humor driven to the thought provoking. Most of all, we are looking for innovative ideas paired with excellent writing.

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Ike Williams is a founding Director of The Kneerim & Williams Agency, LLC, a literary and dramatic rights agency, with offices in Boston, New York and Washington, DC., where he specializes in biography, history, politics, natural science and anthropology. Authors he represents include Howard Gardner, Michael MacDonald, Joseph J. Ellis, the late David H. Donald, E.O. Wilson, Nicholas R. Burns, Richard Wilbur, Tim Berners-Lee, Charles Ogletree, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Nigel Hamilton, James MacGregor Burns, the late Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Michael Porter, Drew Gilpin Faust, and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot. 

He represents book to movie and screenplay and teleplay writers in the placement of their dramatic rights. Recent successful projects include Public Enemies based on the book The Vendetta: FBI Hero Melvin Purvis’s War Against Crime and J. Edgar Hoover’s War Against Him by Alston Purvis as a feature film produced by Misher Films and Universal Studios, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, and Fox 2000’s feature series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid based on the books by Jeff Kinney. He has also worked with the late Howard Zinn to complete The People Speak, a dramatic series based on A People's History of the United States and co-produced by Chris Moore, starring Josh Brolin, Viggo Mortensen, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, etc., which aired on the History Channel in the late Fall of 2009 and its British spin-off produced by Colin Firth will air in October of 2010, and I.M. Pei: Building China Modern which premiered on American Masters in the early Spring of 2010. 

Mr. Williams is admitted to the federal and state bars in Massachusetts and the United States Supreme Court and is a 1965 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a 1960 graduate of Harvard College.

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BIO

Mako Yoshikawa is the author of the novels One Hundred and One Ways and Once Removed. Her work has been translated into six languages; awards for her writing include a Radcliffe Fellowship. As a literary critic she has published articles that explore the relationship between incest and race in 20th-century American fiction. Her essays have appeared in the Missouri ReviewSouthern Indiana Review, and Best American Essays (2013). She is a professor of creative writing at Emerson College, Boston. 

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