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Special Series

Special Series

Muse and the Marketplace Presenter Spotlight: Steve Almond

GrubStreet's Muse and the Marketplace is in-person May 10th-12th this year. We have an exciting round-up of presenters leading sessions and events like Steve Almond, the renowned author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football.

We recently caught up with Steve to ask him about writing in community, the Muse, networking and more.

GrubStreet: What does the phrase "writing in community" mean to you personally and professionally? Could you share a moment from your career where community support at events like the Muse and the Marketplace made a significant difference?

Steve Almond: Years ago, I met an old friend at the Muse, someone I hadn’t seen for years. She reminded me of something I’d told her years ago, which had kept her going in a dark time. And I told her that she’d done the same thing for me. As a reminder: we hadn’t spoken for years. But we’d been carrying around this little ray of hope. That’s what the Muse is about: keeping the hope alive, connecting writers to a larger community, one that can remind them that they’re not alone, despite having, often, to work alone.

GrubStreet: Networking is a vital part of a writer's journey, but can sometimes feel like a new skill for writers to learn. Based on your experiences, what practical advice can you offer to attendees on making the most of networking opportunities at the Muse and the Marketplace? How have connections you've made at events like the Muse and the Marketplace shaped your writing trajectory creatively or opened new doors for you professionally?

Steve Almond: To be honest, “networking” is a verb that kind of icks me out. I’d prefer to think about the ways in which writers (as a reminder: often lonely, doubt-choked people) can connect with one another around writing and reading. That’s the reason to talk with folks at the Muse: because you respect their work, or you feel connected to them in your mutual struggle to write, or you’re excited to talk about a favorite book, or a teacher, or class. The idea of connecting with others out of some ulterior, professional motive doesn’t make much sense to me, frankly, because publishing is ultimately a meritocracy. People don’t get published because of “who they know” but because of the quality of their work. There are no short cuts.

Learn more about the Muse and the Marketplace and register here.

Keep reading in this series