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Am I right for the Essay Incubator?

We designed the Essay Incubator with a particular student in mind, but if each of the criteria below doesn’t apply to you, and you still believe you are ready to deepen your experience as an essay writer, we still encourage you to apply. 

The Essay Incubator may be a good fit in your development as a writer if:

  • You have already taken two or more writing courses at GrubStreet, a comparable writing center, or an MFA program, including one at an advanced level.
  • You have been writing and submitting essays for publication, whether you have ultimately published that work or not.
  • You have been or are currently engaged in writing and reading essays, with a writing group or on your own, and want to join other writers to develop your essays.
  • You want to spend several months focused on the writing and reading of essays in order to take your writing to the next level.  
  • You have some experience reading and writing essays, such as those you might find collected in Best American Essays, in literary magazines and in popular publications.
  • You have written at least five essays you consider ready for being workshopped.

Between September 2019 and April 2020, the ideal participant of the Essay Incubator will be able to:

  • Devote a regular chunk of time to your writing life. The hours will depend on the phase of the program and the amount of time your writing requires, but plan on between approximately 6-10 hours a week between various activities (outside of working on your writing projects) which may include class meetings, conversations with the instructor, small group meetings, writing exercises and assignments, and preparing written feedback for fellow writers.
  • Think of yourself as a writer and prioritize developing this part of your life.
  • Work towards building a respectful, supportive community of writers.
  • Be open to giving and receiving thoughtful critical feedback (not just advice).
  • Approach drafts for substantive, at times, radical revisions.

Submission Requirements

  • Writing samples (up to 40 pages). **The application requires at least 15 pages of writing, and at least two different and complete essays. If your essays are very short, you may submit more than two amounting to at least 15 pages."**
  • Letter of Introduction (500 words or fewer). This letter is an informal statement to help the committee learn more about you and why you’d like to participate in the Incubator. Please address:
    1) the kind/type/genre of essays you write or hope to be writing;
    2) any goals for your work and publication, and what you’d like to learn over our eight months together;
    3) what you think you can offer the class and your fellow writers.
  • Nomination by a GrubStreet instructor or equivalent workshop leader. No letter is necessary. There is a place on the application form to list your nominator and his/her contact info.
  • Experience in at least two workshops at GrubStreet or an equivalent writing center, MFA program, or conference. There is a place on the application form to list the titles and dates of previous workshops.
  • If applying for a fellowship, you must submit this separate fellowship application.
  • There is no application fee.

Submit all of the above via the online application form.

The absolute deadline for submissions is 11:59pm EST on August 2nd, 2019. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status in late August. We strongly encourage students to apply as early as possible.