Writing to Heal Program

“Wonderfully supportive and generative—better than I could have imagined. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this unique, dynamic and unforgettable community. I felt like we were witnesses to each other's experiences in a way I'd never experienced before.” 

-Writing to Heal student

In a Nutshell

An intensive 6-month program designed to give nonfiction students a deep dive into how the writing process can serve as a healing tool for adversity and trauma. Students will work on their own healing narratives in a supportive workshop environment and analyze poems, essays, articles and book excerpts that demonstrate the transformative power of personal narrative. This class is the longform, most in-depth version of GrubStreet classes "Writing to Heal II" and "Master Writing to Heal.”  It includes additional revision periods, private writing periods, small group meetings, individual conferences with the instructor, and opportunities to meet writers in the field. Find out more about application requirements here.

The application for the 2020-2021 Writing to Heal Program will open in June 2020.

Open House and Info Session

Thinking of applying? GrubStreet is offering an informal Q&A session via zoom video conferencing with instructor Jennifer Crystal on Tuesday, July 7th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm. She'll answer any questions you have about the Writing to Heal Program, 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.

Overview and Goals

Elie Wiesel said, “When you listen to a witness, you become a witness.” In this intensive program, we’ll explore what it means to bear witness to suffering—our own and others’—and examine how written accounts shift our understanding of the human condition from “I” to “We”. Using Louise DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing as our theoretical base, students will take a deep dive into the Writing to Heal process, looking at published works to explore advanced craft techniques specific to this genre. 

This cumulative program will follow the course of Writing to Heal II and Master Writing to Heal, with additional revision periods, private writing periods, small group meetings, individual conferences with the instructor, and opportunities to meet writers in the field. Each student will create a personalized plan with goals for the course. Students will generate a lot of material; they’ll workshop, receive feedback, and spend significant time on revision; they’ll learn about the publication process for this genre; and they’ll finish with at least one project ready for publication and a list of places to submit. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an end-of-program reading for the community.

The program is open to students who have completed Writing to Heal I, Writing to Heal II or Master Writing to Heal, and/or those with workshop experience who are eager to engage in this type of work with a continuous supportive group. Students may start or continue a long-form project, revise previous submissions, or workshop new writing. The program will set students up to continue in non-fiction Generator or Incubator programs.

Testimonials

“Jennifer Crystal is a gifted facilitator who knows how to create a supportive and safe structure for a community of writers to “go toward” some of the most challenging traumas imaginable, and to speak to them and about them through story. This opportunity for me was instrumental and  transformative to my own healing.” 

“Wonderfully supportive and generative—better than I could have imagined. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this unique, dynamic and unforgettable community. I felt like we were witnesses to each other's experiences in a way I'd never experienced before.” 

"The class was filled with such open, kind, and talented writers. It was a gift just to get to know them. I was able to learn and improve my writing practice from their supportive feedback and notes."

Important Dates

  • Application opens: 6/1/20
  • Open House and info session: Tuesday, July 7th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm. Register here
  • Application deadline: 7/27/20
  • Accepted students will be notified by mid-August
  • Program starts on September 9th and will meet from 6:00pm-9:00pm

Covid-19 Update

GrubStreet is planning to hold all of its classes using Zoom video conferencing until it becomes safe to meet in person in Boston. We are monitoring the public health situation closely, and while we expect this program will be able to meet in person eventually, all applicants should be prepared to participate via Zoom for as long as necessary.