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

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Episode 37: John Roderick On How to Make Agents Want You

John Roderick

John Roderick

The Long Winters frontman John Roderick joins us on the GrottoPod this week and talks about how making a splash — anywhere — can lead to a book deal. Roderick, who formed the long-running Seattle band with fellow ex-Harvey Danger member Sean Nelson, also hosts two podcasts (Roderick on the Line, with writer and 43 Folders founder Merlin Mann, and Road Work, with 5by5 founder Dan Benjamin), has hosted live cabaret and YouTube travel videos, and ran for Seattle City Council (he came in third). All of this — plus massive followings on Twitter and Instagram — have led multiple agents to beg Roderick to write a book. He tells us what he might write, and our hosts offer a GrottoPod first: 35 seconds of mid-podcast rock and roll.

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Episode 36: Zen And The Art Of Literary Readings

Larry Rosen and Bridget Quinn

Larry Rosen and Bridget Quinn

This week, Larry and BQ honor San Francisco’s biggest (and liveliest) literary festival, Litquake, by focusing this guest-free episode on literary readings: what makes them succeed (or not!), how they build community and why writers — and aspiring writers — should attend as many readings as they can. As a bonus, BQ shares her tips for readers, and Larry explains why he can’t stand “poetry voice.” You know what we’re talking about.

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Episode 35: Litquake Founder Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware

On the eve of Litquake, San Francisco’s renowned literary arts festival, co-founder Jack Boulware joins the GrottoPod to talk about his life in the literary scene. Boulware is also the co-founder of the legendary comedy magazine The Nose, the author of several books, including San Francisco Bizarro, a local bon vivant and a native Montanan. Join us as Boulware weaves tales from his colorful, creative life and explains how long hours, low pay and impossible logistics add up to literary glory. Litquake kicks off Oct. 6. Click here for the full schedule. 

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Episode 34: Laurie Ann Doyle On Crafting Unputdownable Stories

Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle

This week, Laurie Ann Doyle — author of the new short-story collection World Gone Missing, founder of the Babylon Salon literary performance series and GrottoPod co-producer — sits down for a warm, honest and revealing discussion about her writing process, her career and the themes that inspire and compel her work. She has also contributed recent pieces to the Los Angeles Review and the resistance anthology Speak and Speak Again. Don’t miss her at a number of upcoming readings and events around the Bay Area; check out her schedule here.

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Episode 33: Mary Roach On Where Best-Sellers Come From

Mary Roach

Mary Roach

This week, the GrottoPod travels to the downtown Oakland office of Grotto alum Mary Roach, the New York Times best-selling author of six titles, including Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and her most recent work, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with one of the Bay Area’s favorite writers.

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The GrottoPod Team

Larry Rosen

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

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 KravetzLee 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 DoyleLaurie 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

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, Zoe Fitzgerald Carter


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.


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