"The Memoir Incubator program has been exactly what I needed, in ways I didn't know I needed. The structure of the program requires us to produce and revise work; the demanding schedule includes lots of reviewing and workshopping the other participants' work - which also turns out to be enormously valuable. Our class has become a wonderful, trustworthy source of feedback and suggestions. The craft lessons often hurt my head, I am learning so much. 

I started this program with a strong idea and a good chunk of my book drafted. I now have the full draft of a slightly different book written and am feeling confident about the next steps. An ideal program for me. I believe that's also true for all my classmates."

- Molly Howes

  • 120 Hours of Instruction 

    For most of the 12-month program, students meet in three-hour workshops on Monday evenings at GrubStreet HQ. Workshops are led by instructor Alysia Abbott, who also provides written feedback and offers prepared lectures on various elements of the craft of memoir-writing. These classes also include analysis of published memoirs and impromptu discussions about the memoir-writing process.  

    The workshop schedule includes scheduled breaks to allow for vacation time. Because workshop participation is crucial, the full 12-month schedule will be available to students at the time students are notified of acceptance into the program. This should allow plenty of time to (re-)schedule any trips or other commitments over the course of the Incubator.

  • 12 hours of individual consultations with the instructor 

    After each workshop meeting, students whose manuscripts were workshopped will meet with the instructor individually on a mutually agreed-upon date and time. The goal of these meetings is to allow the writer to synthesize the multiple perspectives students have heard at the workshop meetings, as well as strategize more specific plans for their work. Each writer will receive a minimum of 12 hours of individual consultation: 3 hours (broken up across 2 or 3 meetings, as the writer prefers) for each of the 3 class sections, a 1-hour meeting after the writer’s editorial consultation during or between the 2nd and 3rd segments of the class, and a 2-hour meeting after the Muse & Marketplace conference, to allow the writer to come up with a concrete plan for next steps.

    In addition to these hours, the instructor will be available for weekly "office hours" sessions, at which students may drop in and discuss their projects as needed.

  • Weekly Word Count Check-Ins

    To ensure that your manuscript develops, you will turn in 2000 words of rough draft or 3000 words of revised material every week the Incubator is in session. These words will not be workshopped, but everyone will be required to complete them. The more you write, the easier it is to write!

  • Additional full memoir consultation and meeting with established author.

    As part of the course, students receive detailed written feedback on their revised memoir draft as well as a one hour face-to-face or phone/Skype discussion with an established author who will act as a second reader. This meeting will be scheduled to occur at the end of the second section of the class or between the second and third segments, depending on readers’ availability. The program considers this outside voice vital in providing a well-rounded response to the memoir as a whole.

  • Full weekend tuition at the Muse and the Marketplace literary conference, including one Manuscript Mart appointment 

    The Muse and the Marketplace has become one of most successful literary conferences in the country. In this three-day symposium, participants choose from over 100 sessions on various writing-related topics. Sessions are led by established authors from Boston and beyond, top-notch editors and literary agents, and members of the GrubStreet faculty. The Manuscript Mart is an opportunity to have 20 pages of the student's manuscript read by an agent or editor, who will meet with the student for twenty minutes at the conference to provide critical feedback.

  • Tell-All Boston Reading Series

    Students are invited to submit to Tell-All Boston, a seasonal nonfiction reading series run by graduates of the Memoir and Essay Incubator Programs. After graduating from the Memoir Incubator students may join the Tell-All committee or work on other alumni initiatives.  


The entire cost of the program is $8,495. Tuition is payable in two installments, the first in May, 2020; the second in October, 2020. 

Fellowships are available and based on a combination of merit and financial need. 

See more information about our submission guidelinesinstructorsstudents and the curriculum overview.

Free Open House & Info Session

Thinking of applying? GrubStreet offers informal Q&A sessions each year with alumni and instructor Alysia Abbott 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.

We are moving!

Did you know GrubStreet will be moving
to a brand new space in 2020?

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