Monday, October 22, 2007

Grub Street Rag, 10/22/07

the grub street rag. (Re)writing Boston since 1997.

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"A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning."

-- James Dickey

grub street gossip.

Welcome to the Grub Street Rag, a newsletter of the Boston literary scene sent out every Monday by the relief pitchers at Grub Street's bullpen (er. . . world headquarters). As always, if you are receiving this e-mail in horror, please advance to the bottom of the page to unsubscribe yourself.

Grub Street Book Prize winner announced!
We are thrilled to announce that Susan Richards Shreve has won the 2007 Grub Street Book Prize, in Non-Fiction for her memoir WARM SPRINGS: TRACES OF A CHILDHOOD AT FDR'S POLIO HAVEN (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). Steve Almond was the final judge. Shreve will receive a cash award of $1000 and be brought to Grub Street for a reading, booksigning and reception in early 2008. The next day, Shreve will lead a 2-hour seminar for Grub Street members on the craft of memoir writing. Shreve is the author of thirteen novels, and WARM SPRINGS is her first memoir. Congratulations, Susan! We look forward to meeting you in '08.

Taste of Grub is Friday, November 2nd
Not that we're counting or anything, but A Taste of Grub is coming up soon, and space is limited. If you'd like to attend, or want to support Grub Street with a donation, please click here: Also be sure to check out the fantastic items at our second-ever silent auction. The Literary Silent Auction will take place at A Taste of Grub on November 2nd, but you don't have to attend the event in order to win: online bidding is happening NOW. Check out our website for all the details on A Taste of Grub and the Literary Auction.

Grub Gone... NaNoWriMo?
Got a great idea for a novel? Having trouble getting it down on paper? Like many of us, you might need a kickstart. National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. And the best part is, there are lots of other Grubbies participating too! If you'd like to know who else in the Grub community is writing a lot of words very quickly this November, send an email to If there's enough interested, Grub will host a meet and greet for Nanowrimo-ers later this month. Good luck!

Deadlines extended
Ch-ch-ch-changes! We've extended the deadline for our Master Poetry class to October 26th (class begins November 6th and runs for 6 weeks; cost is $275/$250 members). Please send 10 pages of your poetry to Also, there's still time to sign up for our Young Adult Fiction class, which has morphed into a 6-week course and begins November 7th, costing you a cool $275/$250 members. Ring us at 617.695.0075 to sign up!

Whitney, Sonya, and Chris (from Pennsylvania)

grub events calendar.

In addition to our ongoing workshops, Grub Street offers numerous writing-related events around town. See our website for a long-term view of all we do. Here is a sample of what's on the horizon:

Novel Writing Weekend
October 27-28th, 2007, 9-4pm each day
Instructor: Jacqueline Sheehan
Our favorite novels let us step fully into the characters and experience their world through all of our senses, and keep turning the pages long into the night. This fiction-writing course will take participants through a series of exercises and discussions that will focus on strong character development, create specific details that will highlight motivation, amplify sensory images, and use dialogue to crank up the tension. Jacqueline Sheehan is also a psychologist and will teach participants how to pull from the world of psychology to add depth to your characters. Come to class with several pages of your novel, or with a summary of the novel that you are dreaming of writing. Plan to leave with expanded characters, clarified conflicts, and strong dialogue. $195/$170 members, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

The Freelancing Payoff
October 27-28th, 2007, 9-4pm each day
Instructor: Eric Butterman
Freelance isn’t just a way to make extra income—it could one day be your income. Join Eric Butterman, who has written for Glamour,, and numerous other publications, as he shows you how to turn one assignment into many and how to expand your horizons from field to field. “There’s many misconception in this business—like that you can’t follow up with phone calls after you send out a magazine pitch,” Butterman says. “Half my business is directly attributed to the phone and we’ll drill through phone calls together so I can show you how to do them correctly.” But before you ever pick up the phone, you need to pick your brain for the right magazine idea. “From sources to use, to a snappy headline, to making your pitch into the voice of the magazine, the pitch needs to be done just right or you just won’t get assignments. We’ll come up with them together on the spot so you can see how the mindset works.” Students in Butterman's 5-week courses have landed $1,000-and-up assignments from Stuff, B'nai B'rith and more, all while the class was still going on!
$195/$170 members, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

Point of View in Fiction
October 27-28th, 2007, 9-4pm each day
Instructor: Adam Stumacher
Point of view is, in the words of Henry James, the “central intelligence” of story. In this workshop, we will explore this crucial and fascinating element of craft. Through in-class exercises, discussion, and an array of readings – from Joyce to Eugenides, Borges to Z.Z. Packer – we will examine the wide range of point of view choices, from the conventional to the experimental. By the end of the weekend, we will be not only have gained an appreciation for the ways authors use these choices to astonish readers, but we will also be well on our way towards using point of view to breathe life into our own fiction.
$195/$170 members, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

Score in Sportswriting
Sunday, October 28th, 2007, Special Time: 5pm – 10pm (with dinner break)
Instructor: Eric Butterman
Many people think you have to cover a sports beat at a small-time newspaper for 10 years to become a successful sportswriter, but if you craft a strong pitch and have a unique style, you could score quickly. Eric Butterman, writer for and the Sporting News, will show you how to get in with the top sports places by finding their needs and crafting pitches and a portfolio to match them. He'll teach you the art of filing a story just after the sporting event ends and help you figure out ways to land sports pieces in magazines which don’t normally come to mind. A perfect way for a sports lover to spend a Sunday night--especially in World Series season!
$95/$85 members, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

LUNCHTIME COURSE: Tuesday, October 30th, 12:30–1:15PM, Brown Bag Lunch Series
Do you work downtown and want to fit some writing into your day? Or do you have a schedule that gives you free afternoons instead of evenings? Bring your lunch and come on over to Grub Street for a Brown Bag Writing Workshop – a series recently profiled in the Boston Globe. For 45 minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some cool writing exercises. Led by one of our award-winning instructors or ambassadors. Best of all, you’ll leave lunch with some new ideas to ponder for the rest of your day, and beyond. Maximum of 15 students. To sign up, email or call 617.695.0075.
FREE, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

On the Horizon:
Friday, November 2nd, 2007: A Taste of Grub
Sunday, November 4th, 2007: You Have What it Takes to Write a Teen Novel
Sunday, November 4th, 2007: Reality 101

spreading the love.

Grub Street wants to promote YOU!! Please send events for consideration to Our apologies if we can't fit you in.

--CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Boston’s Poet Laureate
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has approved the creation of a Poet Laureate position for the City of Boston. “[The purpose of] poetry ... is ... to teach and delight.” – Sir Philip Sidney (1554 – 1586). Applications are invited from poets who are currently residing in the City of Boston, and have been published or have been recognized for notable literary contributions at any stage in their career. Deadline is approaching: Friday, October 26th. For more information, visit the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events website at

--READING: Wednesday, October 24, 7:00p.m, Author and Radio Host Bill Littlefield
The Blue Hills Writing Institute at Curry College welcomes author, radio host, and professor of English Bill Littlefield to read from his recently published book Only a Game. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, Littlefield’s take on the games people play is as refreshing as it is enlightening. From baseball hall of famers, to pickup soccer games among misfit high-schoolers, to the advances women have made in sports, to the most obscure nicknames and unusual mascots in college sports, the book collects memorable commentaries from Littlefield’s popular NPR sports show as well as previously published magazine essays. No matter the topic, Littlefield illuminates the dark corners and unlikely angles of sports with wry good humor and a lightly worn expertise that lets nothing pass. Refreshments will be served after the presentation and the Curry College Bookstore will have Littlefield’s book available for purchase. FREE, Parents’ Lounge in the Hafer Academic Building, Curry College, 1071 Blue Hill Avenue, Milton. For additional information, call 617-333-2346. For directions, please visit

--READING: Thursday, October 25th, 2007, 7pm, Margo Rabb and Steve Almond
Margo Rabb will read from her novel, Cures for Heartbreak, at Newtonville Books with Steve Almond, the author of Not That You Asked and Candyfreak, who promises to read lots of dirty stuff. More info on the authors can be found at and FREE, Newtonville Books, 296 Walton St Newton, MA.

--GRUB STREET NORTH AT CORNERSTONE BOOKS: Sunday October 28th, 3pm, Grub Street North: Hank Phillippi Ryan on First Novels
It's not ALL about ghouls and goblins! Join beloved investigative journalist and new fiction author Hank Phillippi Ryan as she gives us the scoop on first novels: what every author should know, but probably won't be told (except by Hank!!) Hank has just endured the first novel process with her Charlie McNally mystery (and Boston Globe bestseller) Prime Time, and its sequel Face Time is out this month. Come find out the real deal, and enjoy a free cup of coffee on us for driving to Salem in October! FREE, Cornerstone Books, 45 Lafayette Street, Salem.

--GRUB STREET SOUTH AT BUTTONWOOD BOOKS: Tuesday, October 30th, 7pm, Grub Street South at Buttonwood present Claire Cook on Finding the Muse
This month at the Scituate Library! How to start, and actually finish, the book only you can write. Since her first novel was published in 2000, Claire Cook has learned a lot about writing and the writing life, and she’s happy to share it all with you! What’s special about you, and how can you turn that unique perspective into a great hook for a book? And once you do that, how will you write the rest of it? And then what do you do when you finish? Practical strategies for living through it all, plus a chance to connect with other writers and pull together your own support group. And, of course, lots of fun stories from Claire! Claire Cook is the national bestselling author of four novels, Ready To Fall, Must Love Dogs, Multiple Choice and Life’s A Beach. To reserve, call the Scituate Library at 1-781-545-8727.

Welcome to the end of the e-mail, where, like a man with a plan for a canal, we offer you the chance to win a prize. What story in this year's Best American Short Stories features the lines "Mouth shut" and "Shoes on feet"? Email your answer to Whitney. Winner receives a certificate for ice cream at J.P. Licks.

Answer to last week's quiz: "It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it," wrote Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre. The novel was originally published under the pseudonum Currer Bell on October 9th, 1847. WINNER: Stephanie Gayle.

1 comment:

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