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History of Boston Writers of Color

History

Beginning in 2016, BIPOC students, instructors, and staff expressed the need for a communal space to address their frustrations and experiences in both the literary industry and at GrubStreet. Founded by award-winning author and instructor, Jonathan Escoffery, this group blossomed into a network of BIPOC writers in Boston and surrounding areas. It opened up a pathway for GrubStreet to improve its efforts of equity and belonging.

In response to various feedback from members between 2016-2017, GrubStreet played a non-supervisory role to ensure the group was not used to ONLY promote GrubStreet programming and for the group to have an independent space that BIPOC writers could lead. This feedback also resulted in a name change from “GrubStreet Writers of Color” to “Boston Writers of Color.” As programming and member engagement increased, however, the group’s need for leadership within GrubStreet staff became both clear and a high priority.

In 2018, GrubStreet hired a part-time manager and coordinator, both BIPOC, to facilitate, structure programming, and provide financial and literary resources. Events such as writing retreats, author visits, and craft talks were added to enhance the member experience. In 2020, BWOC officially became a program within GrubStreet with increased funding, which included a full-time BWOC manager to support the program. Other initiatives such as the literary support scholarships, consultation scholarships, the celebrating BWOC’s Good News features, and a regularly updated list of GrubStreet classes taught by BIPOC instructors were created to amplify publications and successes from members in the group, connect GrubStreet instructors to BWOC members who are new to the organization, and provide financial and mentorship support.

The group collectively has over 2,000 members across Facebook Group, Meetup, and a mailing list, and it’s growing everyday.