Individual members

MARIE C. BACA is interested in people on the fringes of society. She has written about morgue workers, day laborers, Bigfoot enthusiasts, cockfighting spectators and the wrongfully convicted. Once, she chased a bear and his pursuer through a forest while wearing a sundress and flip-flops. She has recently begun exploring the world of personal essays. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, ProPublica, California Watch, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Salon, among other publications.

TOM BARBASH is the author of the novel The Last Good Chance and the New York Times bestselling non-fiction book On Top of the World. He has held fellowships from the NEA, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo.  His stories and articles have been published in The Best American Non-Required Reading, Tin House, McSweeney’s, OneStory, Narrative, The Missouri Review, VQR, Men’s Journal, ESPN the Magazine, The Observer, New York Times, Bookforum, The Believer, and other publications, and performed on National Public Radio for their Selected Shorts Series. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts.

ALLISON HOOVER BARTLETT is the author of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession (Riverhead Books). She has written on a variety of topics, including travel, art, science and education, for the New York Times, the Washington Post, San Francisco Magazine, and other publications. Her original article on book thief John Gilkey was included in the Best American Crime Reporting 2007, and the book was selected for Barnes and Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” program. Bartlett was named a San Francisco Library Laureate in 2010 and is the education outreach coordinator for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.

NATALIE BASZILE is the author of Queen Sugar, published by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking.  She has an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers.  An early version of Queen Sugar won the Hurston Wright College Writer’s Award, was co-runner up in the Faulkner Pirate’s Alley Novel-in-Progress competition. Natalie has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation where she was awarded the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook.  Her non-fiction work has appeared in O MagazineThe Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9The, and Mission at Tenth. She is a former fiction editor at The Cortland

JD BELTRAN’s artwork and films have been exhibited internationally, including at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, The Getty Center, and in three Zero1 New Media Biennials. She has public art commissions all over the world, and her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Art in America, and ArtNews.  She writes columns for and the Huffington Post, and is President of the San Francisco Arts Commission. She is also faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she directs the school’s City Studio arts education program for underserved youth.

ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN is a writer, editor, and writing coach. She’s also the founder and editor of The Big Ugly Review, an online literary magazine that showcases fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, music and short films. Her short stories have been published in the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian (fiction contest winner), and US and international literary journals. Her plays have been produced in several venues, including the Exit Theater, The PlayGround, Impact Theatre and Fringe of Marin. She also has 15 years experience writing and editing in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors.

JENNY BITNER’s fiction has been published in Mississippi Review, The Sun, Fence and PANK. Her story “The Pamphleteer” was selected by Dave Eggers for The Best American Nonrequired Reading and incorporated into an opera by The Paul Bailey Ensemble. Her nonfiction has appeared in Utne Reader, To-Do List, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and Men’s Health. She organized Irrational Exuberance, a cross-genre performance series, and The Basement Reading Series. Pine Press published her poetry chapbook Mother. She has finished a novel, Here Is a Game We Can Play. She was a Hoyns Fellow in creative writing at the University of Virginia.

E.B. BOYD is a contributing writer at Fast Company and San Francisco. She’s reported on everything from Silicon Valley hotshots to Marines in Afghanistan. Most recently, she covered technology for Previously, she was a producer in Jerusalem for CNN and a staff writer at The Toledo Blade, where she was a Writer of the Year. She’s reported from the Middle East, China, Haiti, and Afghanistan. Her work has also appeared in Elle,, Utne Reader, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has a degree in international policy from Princeton and is president of the Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California.

PO BRONSON is a Grotto founder and the author of seven books, including the New York Times bestsellers NurtureShock, What Should I Do With My Life?, and the Nudist on the Late Shift. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and New York. He and his frequent collaborator, Ashley Merryman, have won nine national awards for their work. Their newest book is Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing. Po also serves as volunteer president of San Francisco Youth Soccer.

MONICA CAMPBELL is the immigration reporter and editor at Public Radio International’s The World. She also contributes to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Prior to joining PRI, she reported internationally, with stories ranging from Mexico’s migrant shelters, the Pope’s Cuba visit, press freedom in Venezuela. From 2003 to 2009, she lived in Mexico City and covered immigration, politics, and crime for The Christian Science MonitorThe Chronicle of Higher Education, the San Francisco ChronicleColumbia Journalism ReviewMarie Claire and Newsweek. Monica, a 2009-10 Harvard Nieman Fellow, has also reported from Afghanistan.

ZOE FITZGERALD CARTER is the author of the memoir, Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go (Simon & Schuster) an account of her mother’s decision to end her own life after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. The book was excerpted in O magazine, chosen as a finalist for the National MS Society’s Books for A Better Life Award, and is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Zoe has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Vogue. She is currently at work on a novel.

XANDRA CASTLETON is a screenwriter, producer and story consultant whose scripts have served as the basis for award-winning documentary, television and film projects. Her films have screened at the Sundance, Tribeca, AFI and Rotterdam film festivals, among others. Her feature film, Full Grown Men, was the winner of the 2007 Sundance Channel Audience Award and was released in over a dozen theaters in 2008 by Emerging Pictures. She won an Emmy Award as the Series Producer of Independent View for her profile of John Waters. Xandra has an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University and is represented as a screenwriter by the Gersh Agency.

ANGIE CHAU is the author of Quiet As They Come (IG Publishing,2010), which was a Finalist in First Fiction for The California Book Award and a Finalist in Fiction for the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Award. She is the recipient of the Maurice Prize in Fiction and has been awarded an Anderson Center Residency, Hedgebrook Residency, and a Macondo Foundation Fellowship. Her short stories have appeared in the Indiana ReviewSanta Clara ReviewNight Train Magazine, and the 2012 Hey Day Books anthology, New California Writing, and other publications. She has lived in Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Hawaii, and Vietnam and currently calls the Bay Area home.

MARIANNA CHERRY’s fiction has appeared in  ZYZZYVA, The 2001 Pushcart Prize XXV, Fourteen Hills, Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2005 and elsewhere. Her TV pilot “Kill That Guy” got Second Round at the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition. She has wrapped up a novel, Hard Left, about the aftermath of a Colombian kidnapping, and is at work on another. She received a B.A. in English from Columbia University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She performs with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a Bay Area arts group dedicated to the music and dance of Bali.

JANE CIABATTARI has published two short story collections (California Tales, Stealing the Fire) and contributed stories to Long Island Noir and The Best Underground Fiction. She is Vice President/Online in charge of the blog/social networking for the National Book Critics Circle (she served as President 2008-2011). She serves on the advisory board of The Story Prize, on Litcamp faculty, the Overseas Press Club board, and is a founder of the [Flash Fiction Collective], a reading series at Alley Cat Books in the Mission, and book columnist for (also a regular contributor to NPR, The Daily Beast, among others).

CHRIS COLIN is the author most recently of What to Talk About, as well as What Really Happened to the Class of ’93 and Blindsight, named one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2011. He’s written about chimp filmmakers, ethnic cleansing, George Bush’s pool boy, blind visual artists, solitary confinement, running in Iceland, drinking in Napa, the Yelpification of the universe and more for the, the New York Times Magazine, the Atavist, Outside, Wired, SmithsonianMother JonesMcSweeney’s and Afar, where he’s a contributing writer. He teaches writing at the Grotto and was an early editor at Salon.

CHRISTOPHER D. COOK is an author, essayist, and award-winning investigative journalist. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, the Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Mother Jones, The Christian Science Monitor,, The San Francisco Chronicle, Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere.  Chris is the author of the widely praised Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis. He is also a contributing writer for The Progressive magazine. His honors include a Project Censored Award, finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and an Aronson Award. Chris runs Progressive Message, a communications consultancy, with clients ranging from nonprofits and unions to local and statewide political campaigns.  Check out his journalism and writing at

MICHAEL J. COREN is a reporter covering science, economics and the environment for The Economist, FastCompany, Foreign Policy and other magazines. He co-founded Publet to produce digital publications that work on any device — and the data you need to understand your audience. Michael served as the science editor of, managing editor of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post and a Jakarta-based correspondent for Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor. He’s now working on the next story at

SABRINA CRAWFORD hails from the as-yet-undead hinterlands of newspapers and magazines. An award-winning feature writer and arts and culture critic, she’s interviewed everyone from former Rep. Tom Lantos to Guns N’ Roses guitar god Slash, amassing a rare fortune in random facts. Her illustrious credits include: staff writer for The San Francisco Examiner, A&E critic for The San Francisco Bay Guardian, associate editor of DRUM! magazine, researcher at Wired and author of the Newcomer’s Handbook for the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently she’s working on a memoir, writing essays, teaching and trying (often laughably) to master Italian and French.

LINDSEY CRITTENDEN is the author of The View From Below: Stories and The Water Will Hold You, a memoir. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared and is forthcoming in Arroyo Literary Review, Glimmer Train, Bellingham Review, Pisgah Review, and elsewhere.  She has written articles and personal essays for The New York Times, Spirituality & Health, Real Simple, Image, and Best American Spiritual Writing. Lindsey is an Honored Instructor at UC Berkeley Extension.

DAVID EWING DUNCAN is an award-winning science journalist and a bestselling author, with 8 books published in 19 languages. His latest is When I’m 164: The science of radical life extension and what happens if we succeed. He regularly writes for The New York TimesAtlantic, Wired, and others, and is Chief Correspondent for NPR Talk’s “BioTech Nation”. He has been a a special correspondent and producer for ABC’s Nightline and a commentator for NPR’s “Morning Edition.” David is the Founding Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Life Science Policy. He has won numerous awards, including the AAAS Magazine Journalism Award.

STEPHEN ELLIOTT is a former stripper and the author of six books including Happy Baby, a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lion Award as well as a best book of 2004 in, Newsday, Chicago New City, the Journal News, and the Village Voice. His most recent book is an almost all true sexual memoir called My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up. His writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

ALI ETERAZ is an American writer. His short fiction has appeared in Akashic Books, Digital Americana, Forge Journal, Burrow Press Review, and PANK, among others. His critically acclaimed memoir, Children of Dust (HarperCollins, 2009), was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year, was long-listed for the Asian-American Writer’s Award, and was featured on PBS with Tavis Smiley, NPR with Terry Gross, and C-SPAN2. Eteraz’s essays on topics ranging from existentialism to immigrant identity and foreign languages have been highlighted by the New Yorker, Andrew Sullivan, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and The Guardian. Eteraz grew up in the Middle East, the Dominican Republic, and the American South and graduated magna cum laude from Emory University. Find him at

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.

RODES FISHBURNE‘s first novel, Going to See the Elephant, has been sold to an imprint of Random House. In the past ten years he has written for magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and Forbes ASAP, where he was the editor of the acclaimed “Big Issue,” an annual magazine of literary essays from leading writers and thinkers. His plays have been performed off-Broadway in New York City, San Francisco, and Palm Springs.

LAURA FRASER is a long-time freelance writer, San Franciscan, and Grotto denizen. She is the NYT-bestselling author of the memoirs An Italian Affair, All Over the Map, and Losing It, an expose of the diet industry. An award-winning journalist and essayist, she has written features for numerous national magazines. Her work has been frequently anthologized. She has taught magazine writing at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Aspen Summer Words, U.C. Extension, Stanford Continuing Studies, the Grotto, and her own Laura’s Mexican Writing Fiestas. She is a co-founder and Editorial Director of, the publishing platform for short e-books by and for women. More at

ALASTAIR GEE is a British-born journalist and has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Lancet, Slate, The Sunday Times, U.S. News & World Report, Foreign Policy, The Independent, WWD and other publications. He is the Monocle magazine correspondent in San Francisco, where he is based. After graduating from Cambridge, he lived in Moscow for four years, and was an editor at The Moscow Times.

SUSAN GERHARD is a San Francisco-based writer and editor whose creative nonfiction, journalism, and criticism have appeared in a variety of international and local publications, including Salon,, CinemaScope, Mothering Magazine, POZ, the Village Voice, and San Francisco Magazine. Her work has been republished in a variety of anthologies. She was a senior editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian for many years, co-created digital film magazine with Indiewire and the San Francisco Film Society, and currently writes and edits film criticism for Fandor. She was a Sundance Arts Writing Fellow 2002–4. She is fascinated by monkey bars.

MELANIE GIDEON is the bestselling author of Wife 22The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After and two young adult novels: Pucker and The Map that Breathed. Her books have been translated into 31 languages. She has written for the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, More, Shape, the London Times, the Daily Mail and Marie Claire as well as other publications.

JEFF GREENWALD is a writer, photographer and performer. He is the author of six books, including Shopping for Buddhas (1990) and The Size of the World (1995), for which he created the first Internet travel blog. His work has appeared in WiredSalonSmithsonianAfarThe New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. Jeff serves as Executive Director of the non-profit Ethical Traveler ( He has also created a critically acclaimed solo show, Strange Travel Suggestions, which draws from his tales as a travel journalist. Jeff’s most recent book, Snake Lake (2010), is set during Nepal’s 1990 Democracy revolution.

CONSTANCE HALE is a fiend about the craft of writing and covers it at She also writes about style and language in her books: Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch (the most recent), Sin and Syntax, and Wired Style. She has been an editor at the Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Examiner, Wired, and Health; her journalism has appeared everywhere from The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times to The Atlantic and Honolulu. She directed the narrative journalism program at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard and edits books, turning narratives about serious subjects into serious page-turners. She also runs writing retreats in Vermont and Hawaii.

RACHEL HOWARD is a fiction writer and journalist, and author of The Lost Night, a memoir about the emotional aftermath of her father’s unsolved murder. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, and The Village Voice. Her short stories and literary essays have been published in ZYZZYVA, Canteen, the Arroyo Literary Review, and other journals. A dance lover since childhood, she reviews dance for the San Francisco Chronicle and other outlets. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and is currently at work on a novel.

VANESSA HUA is an award-winning writer and journalist.  She is a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at SJSU.   Her fiction has appeared in the Atlantic, ZYZZVA, Calyx, DailyLit and elsewhere, and her non-fiction in the New York Times, New Yorker online, and Salon, among other publications.  At the San Francisco Chronicle, she covered Asian American affairs, and has filed stories from Burma, China, Panama, and South Korea.   A graduate of Stanford University and UC Riverside’s MFA program, she is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. 

SUSAN ITO is a writer and performer who studied with the San Francisco Solo Performance Workshop. She has performed her solo shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Cambridge and Baltimore. Susan’s work has appeared in The Bellevue Literary Review, Hip Mama, CHOICE, and elsewhere. She edited the anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption, and has been a creative nonfiction editor and columnist at Literary Mama.

GERARD JONES’s next book, The Undressing of America: How Our Culture Wars Over Sex and Privacy Were Born, will be coming from FSG. His previous books include Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book (Basic Books 2005), Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Superheroes and Make-Believe Violence (Basic 2002), Honey I’m Home: Sitcoms Selling the American Dream (St. Martin’s 1993) and The Beaver Papers (Crown 1983). He’s also done some screenwriting and written a whole lot of comic books. He often teaches his “Finding Your Story” workshop at the Grotto.

HOLLY JONES recently returned to the Bay Area after several years in Washington, D.C., where she co-founded 826DC and wrote extensively about the city in the “Dispatches From The Anacostia” and “Dispatches From The Capital” series for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She has published short stories, essays, and articles in various print and online magazines, and holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts as well as an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She is currently working on a spy novel set in Pakistan.

YUKARI IWATANI KANE is a journalist with nearly 15 years of experience writing about technology. She is a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal in SF and Tokyo before that, covering companies like Apple, Sony and Nintendo. Her biggest scoop about Steve Jobs’ liver transplant was picked up around the world and her contribution to a series about online privacy was a Gerald Loeb Award finalist in 2011. Prior to the Journal, she was a correspondent for Reuters in Chicago and Tokyo. Her first book “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs” (HarperCollins) debuts in March.

DIANA KAPP is a freelance journalist who writes about education, culture, technology, adventure travel and curiosities like charisma coaches, Chinese birds nest soup and what led the UC system’s first female chancellor to jump to her death from San Francisco’s tallest building. This year she traveled to Afghanistan to see schoolgirls ditch their headscarves for the first time as they joined a cricket camp for girls, and went inside San Quentin to talk start-up ideas with inmates in the world’s only prison-based tech incubator.  Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesELLEMarie Claire, MORE, the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. She loves running, skiing and Idaho.

JESSICA CAREW KRAFT is an independent print journalist in San Francisco, specializing in cultural trends and sustainability. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, Grist Magazine, Yoga Journal, ARTNews and other publications. Originally from the Midwest, Jessica trained as an anthropologist at Swarthmore College and Yale University, and then worked as an art critic, a graphic designer and an adjunct professor. She is currently on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley Extension and spends free time in her art studio.

LEE DANIEL KRAVETZ is the author of Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering & Success (to be published by HarperCollins in 2014).  His writing focuses on survivorship, hope, and stories of resilience.  A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, Lee has written for print and television, including The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Psychology Today and The Huffington Post, as well as for Sesame Street, Frontline, and NOVA.  He appears regularly on Huffington Post Live and is on the board of LitCamp, the first San Francisco-based juried writers’ conference.

MARY LADD is currently at work on a website and book, Wig Report, comedic riffs detailing: hair loss, chemo, genetic counseling, “bathroom issues,” and multiple surgeries from breast cancer. Ladd is a freelance writer who studied food and culinary history at the California Culinary Academy and Mass Communications at UC Berkeley. Her writing has been featured in (Bay Area Bites), 7×, SF Weekly (SFoodie), Tasting Table, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Chile Pepper Magazine. She has eaten calf brains on TV with Anthony Bourdain.

RACHEL LEHMANN-HAUPT is an author, editor and content strategist. She is the Creative Director of StoryMade, a boutique storytelling studio that she founded. She works on nonfiction manuscripts, book proposals, multimedia web content, and e-book development. Past projects have included the launch of TED Books and editing the best-selling The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. Her writing on gender politics and the influence of science and technology has appeared in The New York TimesNewsweekNew YorkVogueSlateSelfOutside, and Wired.  She is the author of In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment, and Motherhood (Basic Books, 2009) and DIY Mom: A Solo Parenting Adventure (Shebooks, 2014)

RACHEL LEVIN is a freelance writer and editor who covers travel, food, and the occasional rock star, rabbi, ex-con ultra- marathoner. She writes for the New Yorker, New York Times, Outside, Food & Wine, Modern Farmer, Pacific Standard, Slate, the Bold Italic, the Rumpus, San Francisco magazine, where she has been a staffer and restaurant critic, and Sunset, where she was a senior travel editor. Her essays have been anthologized in Best Food Writing and Best Women’s Travel Writing and she is a contributing editor at OZY.

CONSTANCE (Connie) LOIZOS is a magazine writer who has written for a more than a dozen outlets, including Barron’s, Business 2.0, Yoga Journal, National Geographic, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, I.D., Inc., 7×7, San Francisco Magazine, MBA Jungle, Corporate Board Member, and Technology Review. An editor at Red Herring magazine in the mid- to late-’90s, Connie also remains a fixture on Silicon Valley’s venture capital scene, writing about everything from entrepreneurs and illicit love affairs to the occasional kidnapping for several publications, including the national magazine Venture Capital Journal. She is currently working on her first novel, Funeral Parlors, a romantic comedy.

STEPHANIE LOSEE is the Managing Editor of Dell, directing the company’s editorial content strategy. Most recently she led the launch of Dell’s Paid Posts as the inaugural brand on The New York Times’ native advertising platform. She is a former writer at Fortune and editor of PC Magazine, and the co-author of two nonfiction books. Her essays and articles have appeared in several anthologies as well as in O, The Oprah Magazine; The Los Angeles Times; Forbes;; San Francisco Magazine; The New York Post; and The San Francisco Chronicle; among others. Follow her on Twitter at @slosee.

KIMBERLEY LOVATO is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles about travel, lifestyle, and food have appeared in print and online media including National Geographic Traveler, Executive Travel, AFAR, Delta Sky, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), Easy Jet Traveller, American Way, Wine Enthusiast,,, and more. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, was the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award winner, and her essay, “Lost and Liberated,” won the Bronze Lowell Thomas Award the same year, and appeared in Best Women’s Travel Writing . She is a co-founder of Weekday Wanderlust, a monthly travel writer reading series.

KATHRYN MA is the author of the novel The Year She Left Us (HarperCollins, May 2014). Her short story collection, All That Work and Still No Boys, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, and was named a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Discoveries Book. Kathryn’s short fiction has been published in The Kenyon ReviewPrairie Schooner, Southwest ReviewTriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the David Nathan Meyerson Prize in Fiction.

AYESHA MATTU‘s first book – Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women – was featured globally by media including The New York Times, NPR, BBC, The GuardianTimes of India, and Jakarta Post. She was selected a ‘Muslim Leader of Tomorrow’ by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and has served on the boards of the Women’s Funding Network and World Pulse. Ayesha’s second book – the companion anthology Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy (Beacon Press) – is now available.

MAC MCCLELLAND is the award-winning human rights reporter for Mother Jones magazine. Her first book, For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question, about her time with refugees on the Thailand-Burma border, was a finalist for the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize; an adaptation of it was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She’s commented for outlets including MSNBC, NPR, BBC, Al Jazeera, and been anthologized in Best American Magazine Writing, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Best Business Writing. Her second book, about PTSD, is forthcoming from The Penguin Press.

LAURA MCCLURE is the editor of IDEO and a national award-winning magazine journalist, editor, and digital innovator. A former and Mother Jones staff writer/editor, Laura has covered topics ranging from toy design to the Congo. She has also been an International Reporting Project editor (Liberia), Peace Corps Volunteer (Togo), and speaker at SXSW Interactive, Facebook, and USC Annenberg. She teaches nonfiction writing workshops at Stanford University and the San Francisco Writers Grotto.

KIRSTEN MENGER-ANDERSON is the author of Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain (Algonquin, 2008), which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Fiction and one of Chicago Time Out‘s top ten books for 2008. Her short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Southwest Review, Post Road, and other publications. She holds an M.A. in English and creative writing from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in economics from Haverford College. She is currently working on a novel set in Ecuador, Texas, Los Angeles, and Boston. For more information, please see

JOSHUA MOHR is the author of four novels, including “Damascus,” which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.”  He’s also written “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List.  He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His latest novel is “Fight Song.”

TOMAS MONIZ is the founder, editor, and writer for the award winning zine, book and now magazine: Rad Dad. His novella Bellies and Buffalos is a tender, chaotic road trip about friendship, family and Flammin Hot Cheetos. He is co-founder and co-host of the successful monthly reading series Lyrics and Dirges as well as the more rambunctious open mic, Saturday Night Special. He’s been making zines since the late nineties, and his most current zines Dirty and The Body is a Wild Wild Thing are available, but you have to write him a postcard: PO Box 3555, Berkeley CA 94703.

DAVID MUNRO is an award-winning filmmaker based in San Francisco. His latest project, Stand Up Planet, a semi-scripted documentary about a new generation of global comedians sparking change through humor, is airing on Pivot TV and KCET. David’s debut feature, Full Grown Men, won the Sundance Channel Audience Award en route to a national theatrical release. His short films have screened from Sundance to Berlin, leading Filmmaker Magazine to name him one of 25 New Indie Faces. David is an original member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto and a founding member of the alt-country band Joe Buck. He is represented by The Gersh Agency for film and television and Kontent Films for commercials.

LOUISE NAYER has written two books of poetry: Keeping Watch, with funding from the NEA, and The Houses Are Covered in Sound. She co-authored How To Bury A Goldfish: 113 Rituals for Everyday Life.  Burned: A Memoir was mentioned in O Magazine, was a finalist for the USA Book News Award and won the 2011 Wisconsin Library Association award. She received six California Arts Council grants. Retired from teaching at City College of SF, she continues to teach —private workshops—and through Osher UC Berkeley and at the Grotto. She’s done numerous readings and radio spots, including NPR.

JAMES NESTOR ( has written for Outside MagazineDwell MagazineThe New York TimesSan Francisco Chronicle, NPR’s Marketplace, Interior Design, and more.His science/adventure book, DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Eamon Dolan Books) was released in the US and UK on June 24, 2014. (Germany, China, Brazil, and other editions will be released in 2014/2015.) DEEP was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick, BBC Book of the Week, Amazon Best Book of the Month, Christian Science Monitor Top Books of June 2014, and more.

JANIS COOKE NEWMAN is the author of the novel, ‘Mary,’ which was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist and USA Today’s Best Historical Fiction of the Year. She is also the author of the memoir, ‘The Russian Word for Snow,’ which was published in 2001 and remains in print. She is the founder of Lit Camp, the writers conference co-sponsored by the Grotto and Litquake. Newman’s travel writing has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She serves on the advisory board of Litquake. For more information visit

ZAHRA NOORBAKHSH is a writer, performer and stand up comedian.  The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one-woman show, “All Atheists Are Muslim” a highlight of the Int’l NYC Fringe Theater Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America.  Her performances have sold-out theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Zahra is a contributor to the groundbreaking, NY Times featured anthology, “Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women” featuring her piece, “The Birds, The Bees—and My Hole.”

TODD OPPENHEIMER is the author of The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved (Random House). He has won numerous awards for his writing and investigative reporting, and has been featured on radio and television shows such as ABC’s “Nightline.” The Flickering Mind was a book award finalist from Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. It is based on “The Computer Delusion,” a cover story Oppenheimer wrote for The Atlantic‘s July, 1997, issue, which won the year’s National Magazine Award for public interest reporting.

PETER ORNER is the author of Esther Stories and the forthcoming novel The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Best American Stories, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Bomb, The Southern Review, and other publications. Esther Stories was named a New York Times Notable book, and was named a top five book of the year by National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He has been been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Goldberg Award from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is on the M.F.A. faculty at San Francisco State University.

SUSANNE PARI is the author of The Fortune Catcher, a novel of a young woman—American and Iranian, Jewish and Muslim—caught in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She writes and speaks on issues of immigration, religious fundamentalism, women’s rights, and what she thinks it means to be an American. Her work appears in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She was Program Director for Book Group Expo, is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and judges for The California Center for the Book.

CAROLINE PAUL is the author of the memoir Fighting Fire, about life as a San Francisco firefighter. Her novel East Wind, Rain, is based on the true story of a Japanese-American couple faced with a terrible choice when a Japanese soldier, who has just attacked Pearl Harbor, crash lands his plane on their small Hawai’ian island. Caroline’s latest book is LOST CAT, a True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS technology, an illustrated memoir about stalking her cat.

BRIDGET QUINN is the author of Home Team, a sporty memoir about growing up on the high plains of Montana with a devout mother, two sisters, six brothers, a WWII Marine turned lawyer for a father, and becoming her own woman on and off the court.  Three excerpts from the book have appeared in Narrative Magazine, and two received Pushcart Prize nominations.  Bridget’s essays can be found in the anthologies Solo: On Her Own Adventure (Seal Press), Two In The Wild (Vintage) and Brain, Child: Greatest Hits.  Her Narrative memoir, “At Swim, Two Girls,” was selected by J.R. Moehringer for inclusion in Best American Sports Writing 2013.

For 37 years, CATHRYN JAKOBSON RAMIN has been an investigative journalist and essayist. She wrote the New York Times bestseller, Carved In Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife, published in 2007. In the spring of 2014, she’ll complete her current book project, The Fragile Column: How to Beat the Back Pain Industry at Its Own Game. Based on interviews with hundreds of experts and patients, Ramin exposes the underpinnings of the $100 billion back pain industry. She also writes for and MORE Magazine.  Next up is her novel, about one strong man’s weakness and sudden fall from grace.

JASON ROBERTS is the author of A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler (HarperCollins), a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the international Guardian First Book Award and named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus Reviews. He’s also the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging fiction writers, sponsored by Michael Chabon, and a contributor to McSweeney’s, The Believer, the Village Voice and other publications. Roberts is currently at work on a nonfiction narrative, centered on the opening of Japan in 1853.

ETHEL ROHAN is the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the latter named a 2010 Notable Story Collection by The Story Prize. She is also the author of the chapbook, Hard to Say. Her e-book, a short memoir titled His Heartbeat in my Hand, is forthcoming from Shebooks in 2014. Winner of Ireland’s 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, her work has or will appear in The New York TimesWorld Literature TodayPEN America, Tin House Online, BREVITY Magazine, and The Rumpus, among many others. Raised in Ireland, Ethel Rohan lives in San Francisco.

STEPHANIE ROSENBAUM is a longtime journalist, editor, and author of 6 nonfiction books, including The Art of Vintage Cocktails, World of Doughnuts, Fun Food: Kids in the Kitchen, The Astrology Cookbook, Honey from Flower to Table, and the AntiBride Guide: Tying the Knot Outside the Box. She writes frequently about food and drink for KQED’s online column “Bay Area Bites” and has also written for Kinfolk, San Francisco, Time Out New York, Edible East Bay, Edible Brooklyn, sf360, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Away, and many others.

GRACE RUBENSTEIN is a journalist and media producer specializing in public health, behavioral health and immigration. Her stories — told variously in words, photos, audio and video — have appeared in TheAtlantic.comNew York TimesBoston GlobeSacramento Bee, San Francisco’sBay Citizen, and Parenting and Edutopia magazines. She is the multimedia editor for TED Books and a regular contributor at KQED radio and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Grace speaks fluent Spanish, can’t resist a good salsa beat, and has lived in Mexico and reported stories across languages. She is a fourth-generation San Franciscan.

LORRAINE SANDERS is a journalist, blogger, media consultant and author of Style Bytes, a San Francisco Chronicle column covering the intersection of fashion and technology. Pretty much totally obsessed with all things fashion and tech, she is founder of the blogs Digital Style Digest and SF Indie Fashion and currently writes for Fast Company,, Men’s Journal, Women 2.0 and others. She occasionally teaches in the Academy of Art University fashion journalism department and works with companies to hone their media strategies. In 2010, Lorraine was a news entrepreneurship fellow at the University of Southern California Knight Digital Media Center. She is a graduate of Brown and Stanford. Visit her at

JULIA SCHEERES is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Jesus Land and the award-winning A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. Presently she’s at work at a second memoir. To learn more:

JULIA SCOTT is an award-winning radio producer, journalist and essayist based in San Francisco. Scott produces radio documentaries – most recently, for the BBC World Service – and long-form radio news features for such nationally syndicated programs as Marketplace, The World and Living on Earth. Her freelance work is anthologized in Best American Science Writing and has appeared in The New York Times,, Maclean’s, Rolling Stone, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. Scott is a former staff writer for the San Mateo County Times and Bay Area News Group, including the San Jose Mercury News. Follow her on Twitter

SHANTHI SEKARAN lives in Berkeley and teaches in the Writing MFA program at California College of the Arts. She’s also consulting editor for, a literary podcast. Her novel, The Prayer Room was published in 2009. Her short fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices, The Chattahoochee Review, and Fourteen Hills, with stories forthcoming in Canteen Magazine and The Asian American Literary Review. She’s currently at work on her second novel.

JUSTINE SHARROCK is a journalist and author of Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things (Wiley, 2010) about American soldiers who participated in torture Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. She written for publications including Mother Jones, San Francisco magazine, Alternet, Salon, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a former editor at San Francisco magazine and before that was on the editorial team at Mother Jones. Her latest journalistic obsession is the so-called Patriot movement, militias, and right-wing extremists. 

JULIA FLYNN SILER  is a prize-winning journalist and the author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. Her work has appeared in the New York Times,BusinessWeek, and The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, The House of Mondavi, was a New York Times bestseller and was honored as a finalist for both a James Beard Foundation award and a Gerald Loeb award for distinguished business reporting. Her second book, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012) was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and is now available in paperback.

JENNIFER SOLOW decided to leave her twenty-year career in advertising on 9/11 in the ashes of the World Trade Center. Her first novel, The Booster, was a National Bestseller. The Aristobrats was an Indie Bestseller. She’s collaborated with Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, photographers Terry Richardson and Richard Avedon. Solow was named one of “New York’s Young Guns” by the NY Art Director’s Club. She’s won a Gold Lion at Cannes and has work in the permanent collection of The Museum of Broadcasting. Solow also writes the farm-to-table blog, The Muddy Kitchen. Her upcoming novel, The Butterfly Project, is a collaboration with her teen daughter.

LAVINIA SPALDING is the author of Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (named one of the best travel books of 2009 by the L.A. Times) and With a Measure of Grace: the Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant. Shes also the editor of the 2011, 2012 & 2013 editions of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. A regular contributor to Yoga Journal, she has also contributed to Sunset, the San Francisco Chronicle, Tin House, Inkwell, Post Road, Gadling, and The Best Travel Writing Volume 9, among othersShe is a co-founder of Weekday Wanderlust, San Francisco’s monthly travel reading series.

T.J. STILES won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his most recent book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. His previous biography, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and won the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award in Civil War Scholarship. He is a member of the Authors Guild board of directors, and reviews books for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications. He is currently working on a biography of George Armstrong Custer, with the support of a Guggenheim fellowship.

BONNIE TSUI is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods, winner of the 2009-2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best of 2009: 50 Notable Bay Area Books selection. She writes for The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Outside, O the Oprah Magazine, and Condé Nast Traveller, and is a recipient of the Jane Rainie Opel Award from Harvard University and the Lowell Thomas Award for travel journalism. She likes writing about people. In her spare time, she wishes fervently for a surf house in Costa Rica.

FRED VOGELSTEIN is a business and technology journalist and a contributing editor for Wired Magazine, where he was a 2010 finalist for the Gerald R. Loeb Award. He’s been a staff writer for Fortune, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal and Newsday. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. His first book, Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, was published in 2013 by Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It’s been released in 13 countries and translated into 11 languages.

LYZETTE WANZER is a fiction writer and essayist. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Tampa Review, The MacGuffin, Ampersand Review, Journal of Advanced Development, Journal of Experimental Fiction, Pleiades, Flashquake, Glossalia Flash Fiction, Potomac Review, International Journal on Literature and Theory, Fringe Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, and others.  She is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2012).  Lyzette is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from Center for Cultural Innovation, an Individual Artist Commission grant from San Francisco Arts Commission, and two Professional Development Grants from the Creative Capacity Fund.

MEGHAN WARD is a freelance writer, book editor, and social media consultant. She blogs about writing, publishing, and social media at and, she writes book reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle, and she teaches blogging at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her work has appeared in San Francisco magazine, 7×7 magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, the Oakland Tribune, and the anthology It’s So You. Her memoir, Runway, is available on Follow her on Twitter @meghancward or at

ETHAN WATTERS  is an author and journalist who has spent the last two decades writing about mental health, culture, and social psychology. Most recently, he is the author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. Watters is a contributor to Pacific Standard, The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and This American Life. His writing on the new writing on epigenetics was been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. Watters is co-founder of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

MAW SHEIN WIN’s writing has appeared in journals such as 2River, No Tell Motel, Big Bridge, the Fabulist, and Forklift, Ohio. She is currently a poetry editor for Rivet: The Journal of Writing that Risks for Red Bridge Press, a co-publisher for Stretcher, and has completed residencies at Can Serrat and Headlands Center for the Arts. She often collaborates with visual artists and musicians, and her latest poetry chapbook, Ruins of a glittering palace, with paintings by Mark Dutcher, was published by SPA/Commonwealth Projects. She is presently working on a new manuscript of poems.

EMILY WOLAHAN is a poet and author of the collection HINGE, forthcoming in 2014 from the National Poetry Review Press. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Omniverse, DIAGRAM, Boston Review, New Linear Perspectives and Drunken Boat. Her essays have appeared on NPM Daily, The New Inquiry, and Gulf Coast and she recently completed a Vermont Studio Center residency. She has collaborated with artist Joshua Thomson on his multi-media project Platinum Metres. She is also Editor and co-founder at JERRY Magazine, an online literary magazine, and currently working on writing poetry, essays, fiction and more.

MATTHEW ZAPRUDER is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Come on All You Ghosts, one of New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011, and Sun Bear, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in spring 2014. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in Open City, Bomb, Slate, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Tin House, Harvard Review, Paris Review, The New Republic, The Boston Review, The New Yorker, The Believer, Real Simple, The Los Angeles Times, and Best American Poetry. A recipient of a Lannan Residency Fellowship, a May Sarton Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, he is an editor for Wave Books, and teaches at the Saint Mary’s College of CA MFA.

MAURY ZEFF’s fiction has appeared in Southern California Review, American Fiction 2012, and Switchback. His story about a North Korean soccer player was shortlisted for The American Fiction Prize and his short musical “Love Spacewalked In” was staged at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in November 2013 as part of the PlayGround Monday Night series. It went on to win the People’s Choice Award. He has an MFA from the University of San Francisco, a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a former Grotto Fellow. He is a co-founder of the San Francisco-based reading and performance series Babylon Salon.

ANNE ZIMMERMAN’s first book, An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher, is the product of extensive research at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. She has compiled and introduced two subsequent collections of Fisher’s work: Love In A Dish and Other Culinary Delights (Penguin UK and Counterpoint Press in 2011), and Wine Is Life: M.F.K. Fisher’s Musings on Wine (Sterling Publishing, 2012). She has written for Culinate, The Kitchn, Tasting Table, Diner’s Journal, Gayot, and is the San Francisco Editor for Blackboard Eats.

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