Memoir Incubator

In a Nutshell

A competitive and affordable MFA-level course, spanning 12 months, for ten memoir writers interested in drafting, developing or revising their memoir drafts, a comprehensive craft-based study of the memoir form, and, as appropriate, a thoughtful introduction to the memoir publishing market. The Memoir Incubator application period is closed for the 2017-18 cycle. Applications for the 2018-19 cycle will open in November, 2017.

See more information about our submission guidelines, instructors, and students.

Date of Course: June 2017 - May 2018

Free Open House & Info Session

Thinking of applying? GrubStreet offers informal Q&A sessions each fall with alumni and instructor Garrard Conley to answer any questions you have about the Incubator, including the workload, the application process, what the program does and doesn’t entail, the schedule, the philosophy behind our approach, and anything else on your mind. The next Open House will be announced in October, 2017.

Overview and Goals

The year will be divided into three sections. In the first, lasting eleven weeks, writers will receive craft lessons and intensive workshopping of their manuscript pages, considered alongside the synopsis. The second section, lasting fifteen weeks, will be devoted to in-depth analysis of the memoir form, with special attention paid to structure and the art of excerpting material into brief essays. Each writer will be workshopped three times. We’ll separate the second and third sections with a one-month period of intense writing. Then we’ll reconvene for a third section, lasting ten weeks, in which each writer’s full set of manuscript pages are again workshopped. At various points during the year, prominent authors, editors and/or agents may visit or Skype in as guest speakers. Authors will also meet with the class at a local pub, as part of an ongoing salon series. And as part of the third section of the class, students will be paired with an agent and/or editor at the Manuscript Mart at the three-day 2018 Muse and the Marketplace conference; this agent or editor will read an excerpt of the student's memoir with an eye toward possible representation.

Writers will emerge from a year in the Memoir Incubator with a clear understanding of what story they are telling and how to tell it. They will be urged and supported to finish a draft or a substantial portion of their memoir; some writers will be able to revise their way to a polished manuscript while others work on finishing enough draft to revise their conception of their book, and leave the course with a plan to complete it. In addition to their work on their larger manuscripts, students have the opportunity to excerpt an essay, revise it, and create a personalized submission plan with the help of the instructor.

All classes will be held on Monday evenings from 6:30-9:30pm at the GrubStreet space in Boston.

"Memoir Incubator has been a real gift. I know that soon, my memoir will be finished and ready to pitch. What you learn in the Incubator is not only how to write well, you learn why one line is a good and another needs to go. You learn how and where to start. Your writing also improves as you work through other Incubees' writing. You learn that you're not alone when you consider giving up. Memoir Incubator is intense. It's at times overwhelming but it's been one of the best years of my life."

-Rudy Wilson Galdonik

Questions?

If you have specific questions about the Memoir Incubator program, email programs@grubstreet.org or call the office anytime at 617.695.0075.