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Writing Life Advice

Writing Life Advice

Muse and the Marketplace - A Literary Homecoming

The Muse and the Marketplace takes place this May 10-12th and we reached out to Short Story Incubator graduate and Muse presenter Frankie Concepcion to share her journey from her first workshop at GrubStreet through her return to this year's Muse and the Marketplace where she will lead a craft session called Writing Ourselves Home: Prompts and Exercises for Building An Immigrant Writing Community.

When I first signed up for Grubstreet’s Short Story Incubator in 2019, I didn’t yet know my goals as a writer. I knew that I wanted to dedicate more time and energy to writing fiction, but I wasn’t confident enough to consider applying for an MFA – much less think about publication.

I had been connected with GrubStreet through other workshops, the Boston Writers of Color Group, and the Boston Immigrant Writers Salon, the community I created to help empower and inspire immigrant writers. But it was only when I joined the Incubator and started sharing work with a group of trusted fellow workshoppers that I began to see what was possible for my career as a writer.

The creative community and guidance that the Short Story Incubator cultivated allowed me to take two short stories from ‘first draft’ to ‘ready for publication’ in just a few months. One of those short stories was recently published as the chapbook Aftermath: A Short Story by Bottlecap Press. Another story, "Chameleon," was then published in Joyland, a piece that ultimately got me accepted into the MFA program at Arizona State University.

At ASU, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible mentors, who have helped me start my first book-length manuscript. I also joined the literary journal Hayden’s Ferry Review in my first year as an associate editor, reading submissions for potential publication in the print journal. Now in my third year and final year of the program, I currently serve as Managing Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Ultimately, during my three years in the MFA, I’ll have participated in the production of six print issues in total.

When I got the opportunity to participate in this year’s Muse and the Marketplace Conference, I jumped at the chance to return to my literary home. In fact, during the conference, I’ll be facilitating a session called 'Writing Ourselves Home: Prompts and Exercises for Building An Immigrant Writing Community,' inspired by my previous work with the Boston Immigrant Writers Salon. During this collaborative session, I will be leading a series of free-writes, sharing prompts, and conversation starters that can help all writers (but especially immigrant and diaspora writers) build deeper and more connected writing communities.

As I come to the end of my MFA program and make plans for the future, I can think of no better outcome than being back in Boston and reconnecting with the GrubStreet community. I hope to see you there!


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