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Meet the Instructor

Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Her debut novel, The Quickening, was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, was a Finalist for the Indies Choice Debut of 2010 and Forward Magazine's Best Literary Book of 2010, and is a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award "Must Read" pick. Her second novel, Bottomland, is the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection and a 2016 Mass Book "Must Read." For more, go to www.michelle-hoover.com.

The Second Reader is an established author and teacher who will be hand-picked by Michelle Hoover in consultation with the student. Each student will be paired with a different outside reader, someone with direct experience revising his/her own published novel and the novels of many aspiring and emerging writers. The goal of this pairing is to offer an objective voice and give the student and Michelle Hoover a different perspective on the revision process.

Michelle Hoover's Philosophy

We asked Michelle to tell us a little bit about her teaching philosophy and what excites her about leading the Novel Incubator program:

"The novel is the only written form that requires such extensive empathy from its author for a group of dueling strangers. A character’s obsessions, fears, and flaws drive its events, structure and plot form the often unseen but all necessary spine, and an author’s unique perception remains the only reason for the novel to exist at all. In the Incubator, we hope to support writers trying to conquer this difficult and seldom-taught form. These are writers who often work alone, with little guidance and few friendly readers willing to respond to such a heft of pages. Every novel our students bring in carries with it years of trial and error, creative triumphs as well as frustration, all at the expense of day jobs, family, and friends. This is work our writers feel compelled to do, out of a love for story, character, richness of detail and every last lovely sentence. Responding to each book therefore entails a great deal of responsibility—on the part of the instructor as well as the fellow students. Our goal is to allow authors to forge a distinct voice and vision, to create a forum where discovery is possible and hard thinking required. Through the tools we offer them, we hope to grant writers the confidence to step out of their own way, producing a finely crafted work they will be proud to offer readers."