The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto Working Writer Fellowship
Joining the Grotto as a fellow is a great way for up-and-coming writers to work on a specific project in a community of like-minded peers.
The fellowship program is a new program dedicated to fostering emerging writers. It is open to writers of every genre, including fiction, nonfiction memoir, journalism, poetry, dramatic writing, etc. Writers who have demonstrated a commitment to their craft but who are not yet widely published are invited to apply for one of up to three low-rent workspaces reserved for fellows. Fellows work two days a week for a six-month period (beginning in either January or July).
In addition to working at the Grotto, fellows will get a chance to meet with established writers in their field. Fellows are invited to all Grotto events, including lunches, which are usually a communal occasion frequented by visiting writers, editors, filmmakers and other artists. Once a year, fellows are invited to do a public reading at the Grotto to present the work they’ve done on fellowship.
Please send a sample of recent work (10 pages of prose or up to ten poems) as well as a brief letter explaining your background, your particular project, and what you hope to gain from working at the Grotto to sfgrottofellowship [at] gmail [dot] com. Fellows for the 2012 fellowships have already been decided. Our next application reading period for the 2013 fellowship year is September 1-30, 2012. Deadline for all applications is September 30, 2012.
Questions? Please write Jenny Bitner, Alexandra Kostoulas, or Maw Shein Win at sfgrottofellowship [at] gmail [dot] com
See below for a list of current Grotto Fellows.
Frequently asked questions
What constitutes a demonstrated commitment to writing?
Commitment to writing comes in many forms. You don’t need to have an MFA, though that would be an example of a demonstrated commitment. Internships in your field of interest, a history of attending writing conferences, publications, participation in writing workshops, or activism in the writing community (running a journal, organizing a reading series, or reading at local events) all show dedication to your craft.
Why only three fellows?
The Grotto has limited space and can only accommodate a few new people at a time. We’ve set aside space for emerging writers because new voices enrich our community.
What are you looking for?
We are looking for excellent writing and interesting and focused projects. You should have a clear idea of the trajectory of your project before you apply and it should be already underway.
How much does it cost to rent a fellowship space at the Grotto?
Grotto fellows pay $75 a month ($450 for the six-month term). The space may be used two days a week during business hours.
Why do I have to pay?
We are currently looking for ways to fund the Grotto fellowships, but right now, all the members of the Grotto pay their own way.
What is the application process?
Applications for next year’s fellowship must be received by Sept 30, 2013. To apply, please send a sample of recent work (10 pages of prose or up to ten poems) as well as a brief letter explaining your background, your particular project, and what you hope to gain from working at the Grotto to sfgrottofellowship [at] gmail [dot] com. Finalists will be contacted in November and invited to the Grotto for an informal lunch with Grotto members.
What do you mean by not yet widely published?
Fellows may be published, but need not be in order to apply. The goal of this fellowship is to offer up-and-coming writers a working environment among professionals in which to learn and thrive.
Current Grotto Fellows
ROSA DEL DUCA is a writer, journalist and musician. A California transplant, she grew up in Montana, where she joined the National Guard at 17. Four years later she was fighting to declare herself a conscientious objector. That tumultuous time is the subject of a memoir she’s working on at the Grotto as one of their new fellows. She also writes fiction, fronts the band “hunters.” works part-time producing and writing the news at NBC Bay Area, and soaks up as much California sun in as many ways as she can find. Her work has been published in Cutbank, Grain, River Teeth, and CALYX.
YALITZA FERRERAS was born in Brooklyn and raised in New York and the Dominican Republic. She spent the last twelve years working as a visual designer in New
York and San Francisco. She recently completed my MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her current projects are a novel, and a collection of short stories that deal with Dominicans and the economic and cultural effects of immigration to the United States and Spain.
VANESSA HUA is an award-winning writer and journalist. Her fiction has appeared in the Atlantic, ZYZZVA, Calyx, and elsewhere, and her essays in the New York Times, Salon, and Newsweek, among other publications. At the San Francisco Chronicle, she covered Asian American affairs, and has filed stories from Burma, China, Panama, and South Korea. She received Honorable Mention in the Zoetrope fiction contest, and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Squaw Valley, and Napa Valley writing conferences. A graduate of Stanford University and UC Riverside’s MFA program, she is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. www.vanessahua.com
Former Grotto Fellows
CANDICE BENGE, a playwright since 2005, has had plays performed across the United States and in Zurich, Switzerland. Her interest lies in how theater replaces our culture’s tendency towards judgment with a tendency towards empathy. She pursues this mission as founder of Transient Theater, a traveling theater cooperative based in San Francisco. The Egg Play, a piece dealing with infertility, infidelity, and memory, has been selected for Transient Theater’s inaugural tour and will be performed across the country in summer 2012. To learn more about Candice’s plays and her strange writing technique, “language inundation,” visit candicebenge.com.
PIA CHATTERJEE drinks G&Ts. Reads, writes, but does no ‘rithmetic. Wins awards. Pens blogs. Publishes in 7×7, San Francisco Chronicle, Ledge, Pen Pusher, others. Her novel is finished; her agent is brilliant, yet her book stubbornly refuses to sell. She voices her displeasure by criticizing the state of Indian fiction through her blog. She has a cat, and a B.A. In Eng. Lit from Oxford. Find her at piachatterjee.com.
ORIANE DELFOSSE’s short stories have appeared in the Best New American Voices anthology and Storyscape Journal, among other publications. She has written travel features for Away.com, and numerous guidebooks for Sparknotes and Barnes & Noble Publishing. She has an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and B.A. from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar. She currently divides her time between her work as a freelance writer and for a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to improving urban public schools.
ZAHIR JANMOHAMED served as the advocacy director for Amnesty International and later as the senior foreign policy aide to Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN). Janmohamed’s articles and letters to the editor have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Politico, The Hill, and Outlook India. He was an eye-witness to the riots in Gujarat, India, in 2002 and he is writing a non-fiction book about tracking down survivors of the violence nine years later.
MAURY ZEFF’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern California Review, American Fiction 2012, and Switchback, and has been shortlisted for The American Fiction Prize. He has an MFA from the University of San Francisco, a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, is a member of the Writers Pool for PlayGround, which stages monthly plays at the Berkeley Rep, and is a co-founder of the reading and performance series Babylon Salon. He has worked in the consumer software and Internet industries for the last two decades in California and throughout Asia.
JENNIFER MARCH SOLOWAY has been a florist, a waitress, a spinning instructor, and an amateur boxer (her last fight ended with a crushing hook to her nose). She was a marketing communications professional in the banking, health care and toy industries and now consults to small businesses. She received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, where she won the Marion Hood Haworth Prize in Fiction for Young Adults. Her citysmartgirl book reviews can be found at the Finding Wonderland blog. (http://writingya.blogspot.com/). She is currently working on a futuristic YA novel set in San Francisco.
MICHELLE MARIE ROBLES WALLACE is working on a collection of short stories, Aztlán, which collide Aztec and Catholic mythology and dance along the U.S.-Mexican border. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, is a Voices of our Nations alum, and founded and curated The Kaleidoscope Reading Series. Michelle is an anatomy nerd, costume fanatic and runner. www.michellemariewallace.com
AMANDA B. MILLER received her M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona and has taught creative writing to high school and college students. She’s published a children’s book and flash fiction, and was recently an artist-in-residence at the Ragdale Foundation. She’s at work on a collection of interrelated short stories tentatively titled The Science of Happiness, which is set in the Bay Area. It centers around six female characters and explores the relationship between tragedy, creativity and redemption. She’s also at work on a non-fiction enterprise that combines the beauty of coffee table art books with the inner worlds of American churchgoers.