Grotto fellows

The Grotto Fellows participate in a six-month-long fellowship, during which the Grotto offers workspace and support for emerging writers with works in progress. For more details, see here.

Grotto Fellows, January to June 2019

Marya Brennan learned how to speak Japanese and juggle clubs at Oberlin College, then spent five years teaching middle school English in San Francisco and Oakland. She’s the director of the Young Writers Program at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where she gets to help writers aged 5 to 17 develop their creative voices and write first drafts of novels in just one month. This summer, she attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and is currently at work on her first(ish) novel.

Roberto Rodriguez-Estrada was born in 1990 and raised in California by Nicaraguan immigrants. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review, Your Impossible Voice, The Rumpus, Electric Lit and others. They are writing a novel and a collection of stories in Oakland.

Amanda Moore’s poetry and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies including ZZYZVA, Cream City Review, Best New Poets, The Baltimore Review, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting, and she is the recipient of writing awards from The Writing Salon, Brush Creek Arts Foundation, and The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. She received her MFA from Cornell University, where she served as Managing Editor for EPOCH magazine. A high school English teacher, Amanda is at work on her first poetry collection, Requeening, another smaller collection of poems on illness and grief, and a series of personal essays. She lives by the beach in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco with her husband and daughter. More about her work can be found at http://amandapmoore.com

Elizabeth “Lis” Owuor has lived many writer lives: Freelance journalist, copywriter, editor and creative nonfiction writer. During the past decade, she’s mapped out her personal narrative all over the globe, calling Germany, France, England, and Scotland temporary homes. Currently based in San Francisco, her work blends creative nonfiction, personal history, and truths that require citation. Drawing on the narrative tools of fiction and the intensive research skills sharpened during her occasional journalism career, her forthcoming essay collection centers Black female subjectivity, the pleasures and pains of kinship, and the rawness of lived experience. Her journalism work has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and Deutsche Welle, one of Germany’s foremost news outlets. She recently attended ZYZZYVA’s creative nonfiction workshop and is slated to attend Tin House’s winter workshop in February 2019.

Grotto Fellows, July to December 2019

Nay Saysourinho is a Kundiman Fellow in fiction, as well as a workshop alumna of Tin House and Winter Tangerine. The daughter of Lao refugees who immigrated to Montréal in the late 70’s, she writes about food, class, memories and post-colonialism. Her writing can be found in The Funambulist Magazine and The Margins. She is currently working on her first novel.

Hema Padhu is a storyteller, writer and educator. For the last twenty years, she has helped numerous technology brands tell their stories, and she writes creative fiction to tell her own stories about growing up in India and being a first-generation Indian-American immigrant. She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she also teaches. Her work has appeared in Litro Magazine, American Literary Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Full Grown People. Her essay “Coming Home” was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. She lives in San Francisco and is working on a linked stories collection exploring the complex relationship between mothers and daughters.
Michal “MJ” Jones is a black, queer, non-binary writer and poet in chrysalis living in Oakland, CA. A curious interdisciplinary writer of essay, poetry and prose, MJ’s work has been featured at Foglifter PressEveryday FeminismBlack Girl DangerousThe Body Is Not An Apology, and Wear Your Voice Magazine. MJ is a 2018 VONA Fellow and a 2-time selected participant of the Kearny Street Workshop’s Interdisciplinary Writers Lab. Their newest and greatest muse is their soon-to-be toddler, Glory.
Claire Calderon is an Oakland-based writer and curator at work on her first novel. She is a co-founder of the New American Story Project, a digital storytelling project dedicated to the voices of Central American refugees and Program Manger of the Bay Area Book Festival. She is an alum of VONA/Voices and Tin House, a 2018 Hedgebrook fellow, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Former Grotto Fellows

a partial list

SIMMI AUJLA
KATIE M. FLYNN
KATIA SAVCHUK
SUNISA MANNING
AMY GEORGE
KATHLEEN J. WOODS
BARUCH PORRAS HERNANDEZ
TANEA LUNSFORD
FLORENCIA MILITO
JULIANA DELGADO
MK CHAVEZ
KIRIN KHAN
PATRICK LETELLIER
TANYA REY
MELISSA VALENTINE
CANDACE EROS DIAS
SUSANNA KWAN
SARAMANDA SWIGART
JOSH BETTINGER
KATE FOLK
LISA GRAY
CHRISTINE BANIEWICZ
BORA LEE REED
GRETCHEN SCHRAFFT
ROSA DEL DUCA
YALITZA FERRERAS
VANESSA HUA
CANDICE BENGE
PIA CHATTERJEE
ORIANE DELFOSSE
ZAHIR JANMOHAMED
MAURY ZEFF
JENNIFER MARCH SOLOWAY
MICHELLE MARIE ROBLES WALLACE
AMANDA B. MILLER

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