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Memoir Incubator

You learn why one line is a good and another needs to go. You learn how and where to start. You learn that you're not alone when you consider giving up.

- Rudy Wilson Galdonik

In a Nutshell

A competitive and affordable MFA-level course, spanning 12 months, for ten memoir writers interested in developing and revising their memoir drafts, a comprehensive craft-based study of the memoir form, and, as appropriate, a thoughtful introduction to the memoir publishing market.

Applications for the 2024-2025 Memoir Incubator is now closed! Please check back in January 2025 for the next application cycle and please keep writing!

See more information about our submission guidelines, instructors, and students.

Date of Course: June 2024 - April 2025

Please note that this class will meet primarily in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood. During each phase of the program, a selection of classes will meet via Zoom. Please see the Schedule & Curriculum page for specific dates. Occasionally, classes may be held on Zoom if it becomes unsafe to hold in-person meetings due to COVID-19. You can see GrubStreet's latest in-person meeting status here.

Overview and Goals

The year will be divided into three phases. In the first phase (June to August), writers will receive craft lessons and intensive workshopping of their manuscript pages, considered alongside the synopsis. The second phase (September to December) will be devoted to in-depth analysis of the memoir form, with special attention paid to structure and the art of excerpting material into brief essays. We’ll separate the second and third phases with a period of intense writing. Then we’ll reconvene for a third phase (January to April), in which each writer’s full set of manuscript pages are again workshopped and will also be submitted to an outside reader, an established author who will offer comprehensive macro feedback and suggestions for revision.

At various points during the year, established authors, editors and/or agents may visit or Zoom in as guest speakers. As part of the third phase of the class, students will participate in the Muse and the Marketplace conference series, and be paired with an agent or editor at the Manuscript Mart; this agent or editor will read an excerpt of the student's memoir with an eye toward possible representation.

Writers will emerge from a year in the Memoir Incubator with a clear understanding of what story they are telling and how to tell it. They will be urged and supported to finish a draft or a substantial portion of their memoir; some writers will be able to revise their way to a polished manuscript while others work on finishing enough draft to revise their conception of their book, and leave the course with a plan to complete it. In addition to their work on their larger manuscripts, students have the opportunity to excerpt an essay, revise it, and create a personalized submission plan with the help of the instructor.

All classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm (ET).

Free Virtual Open House & Info Session

Thinking of applying? Memoir Incubator instructor Xujun Eberlein will be hosting a virtual Q+A session on Tuesday, March 5th, from 6:00pm-7:00pm (ET). She will 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. Click here to register.


If you have specific questions about the Memoir Incubator program, email [email protected] or call the office anytime at 617.695.0075.