The GrottoPod Podcast: Writers on Writing
What it is: Writers crammed into a tiny studio at the largest writers’ collective on the West Coast. At the Grotto, more than one hundred writers share office space, a mailing list and lunch conversations about all manner of subjects. On the podcast, we chat with big players and up-and-comers alike, talking craft, process, narrative stuff of all kinds, and also cereal and other vital aspects of the writing life. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Critically-acclaimed poet, Grotto member and former New York Times poetry editor Matthew Zapruder releases his newest book, Why Poetry?, today. To celebrate, we’re revisiting his April interview with GrottoPod hosts Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen, where he talked about his life in poetry and the reasons this often-misunderstood genre of writing is so important. Zapruder embarks on a book tour this week, including stops in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. For his complete schedule, check out his calendar of upcoming events.
Laura Fraser is, among other things, a best-selling memoirist; an instinctive muckraking journalist; a celebrated travel writer; the founder of Shebooks, a publishing imprint dedicated to women authors; and a Grotto O.G. (Original Gangsta). This week she joins the GrottoPod to discuss her travels and travails, mentors and mentoring, and the halcyon early days of the San Francisco Writers Grotto.
Why do you write? Or, rather, how do you write? This week, hosts Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen address these issues, landing on questions of motivation, ambition and outcome as they share their respective “state-of-the-writer” stories. This episode closes with a pair of unexpected twists: we’re proposing a 500-word-a-day “GrottoPod Challenge” — and we bring you a new track from our house band, Sugartown.
Can you create community and ritual without religion, raise moral and ethical children without the guiding hand of the church, find grace without God? This week, we address big questions like these when award-winning journalist Katherine Ozment joins the GrottoPod to talk about her book Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age. Born in Arkansas, Ozment is a former senior editor for National Geographic.
Bridget Watson Payne is the embodiment of the GrottoPod motto “read, write and just keep working.” In addition to her responsibilities as Chronicle Books’ art books editor, she is an illustrator and artist and recently published two (!) books, How Art Can Make You Happy and The Secret Art of Being a Grown-up. This week, she joins us to discuss her work, the writer-editor relationship and the mysteries of publishing. She also offers tips on how to be an effective adult.
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The GrottoPod Team
Larry Rosen is the co-host of the GrottoPod and a longtime freelance journalist, writer and former columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. He is also the host of another podcast, (Is it) Good for the Jews?, and is presently working on a novel and a memoir.
Bridget Quinn is the co-host of the GrottoPod and the author of Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order), which NPR’s Susan Stamberg calls “a terrific essay collection” with “spunky attitudinal, SMART writing,” marking the second time “attitudinal” has been used about her work (first: Kirkus, 1996).
Lee Daniel Kravetz, the GrottoPod’s executive producer, is the international best-selling author of Strange Contagion and Supersurvivors. His work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Atlantic, and Psychology Today. He is is a founding board member of the Lit Camp Writers Conference.
Laurie Ann Doyle is the GrottoPod’s producer and the award-winning author of the short-story collection World Gone Missing. She teaches writing at the San Francisco Writers Grotto and at the University of California at Berkeley. Her work has been published in The Los Angeles Review, University of Colorado’s Timber Journal, and Under the Sun.
Beth Winegarner, the GrottoPod’s online producer, is a veteran journalist and editor whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Guardian, Mother Jones and Wired. She is also the author of several books, including The Columbine Effect: How Five Teen Pastimes Got Caught in the Crossfire and Why Teens Are Taking Them Back.
Sugartown is a Berkeley-based acoustic folk trio, heavy on the harmonies, light on the saccharine (and with a hefty dose of southern moonshine thrown in for good measure). Grotto writer Zoe FitzGerald Carter writes the band’s original tunes, sings and plays guitar. Brian Bloom is on lead guitar and vocals, and local jazz great Dan Seamans plays bass. Info about Sugartown’s upcoming gigs can be found on their Facebook page: SugartownCalifornia.