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Meet the Instructor

Xujun Eberlein

Xujun Eberlein is an immigrant writer. Her personal essay, "Ms. Daylily," recently won the prestigious Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, judged by Melissa Febos, who commented that "Rarely have I read a work so sweeping and so achingly intimate, drawn with a careful and skilled hand, a system of images and artfully excerpted diary entries that draw the constellation of a life, of multiple lives, their gorgeous and devastating entwinement.”

Xujun received the artist fellowship in fiction/creative nonfiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, fiction scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Goldfarb Nonfiction Fellowship from VCCA. Her debut story collection, Apologies Forthcoming, won the Tartt First Fiction Award, while her nonfiction writing has been recognized by The Best American Essays and The Pushcart Prize.

Her work can be found in AGNI, American Literary Review, Asia Literary Review, Brevity, Iowa Review, Iron Horse, Meridian, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, Night Train, Post Road, Prism International, Stand, StoryQuarterly, Walrus, and elsewhere. In addition to literary magazines, she also wrote for Foreign Policy and LA Review of Books.

Xujun holds a Ph.D. in Transportation Science from MIT and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Emerson College. She has been teaching Advanced Memoir and Advanced Essay courses at GrubStreet for years, and a guest speaker at writing classes of UMass Boston, MIT, and Hampshire College.

Teaching Philosophy

"As an immigrant whose writing career flourished in the open culture of America, I firmly believe in diversity and inclusiveness in a classroom. In all classes I've taught, I made sure they were a safe and supportive learning environment for every student, and will continue to do so going forward.

I'm an ambitious and enthusiastic teacher devoted to helping writers master the art of writing, find the best structure for their work, and polish their craft skills. I believe that a student's creativity and potential are best stimulated and achieved through thoughtful critique in combination with gentle encouragement. I have developed techniques to deliver both through years of teaching, and continue to perfect them.

Memoir writing is a profound and deeply personal endeavor; meanwhile, our class is a writing community. For each individual member and the community as a whole to get the most out of the Incubator program, we need to be not only good writers, but also thoughtful readers and respectful literary citizens. This is essential for an environment where critical comments are helpful and appreciated.

Good writing is achieved through practice. In this program students will work hard and write constantly, both generating new material and revising existing drafts. Good writing also builds on good reading. We will use a number of exemplar works to explore structure and craft, and apply that same critical reading to workshop material. For both of these we will continually explore the effects the author is trying to achieve, and how the writing is experienced by the reader. Workshops are a forum for the writer to see different ways to achieve their intent and smooth the bumps off their draft. I will urge everyone to provide thoughtful feedback during workshops, so that each writer can learn through analyzing the work of their peers.

Finally, I work to put writing in the context of the ecosystem in which it can prosper. Writer’s agents, editors, publishers, stores, and readers are all part of that. We will be meeting, largely virtually, with a number of different people during the program to help see how our work fits in."


The Memoir Incubator has been one of the most rigorous and yet rewarding experiences of my life.

- Ann MacDonald

The Memoir Incubator has been one of the most rigorous and yet rewarding experiences of my life. Although we "incubees" are all writing different types of memoirs, we have learned a common vocabulary, and the feedback during workshops has been incredibly helpful. Everyone's memoir draft has improved–significantly. You will work hard, but it will be worth it.

— Ann MacDonald