Grand River Writing Tribe

The Grand River Writing Tribe seeks to advance and celebrate the work of authors in the lower Grand River watershed who are serious about the craft of writing and who actively seek publication.

GRWT continuously accepts applications for membership. We do not allow drop-in or guest visitors who have not been accepted by the group. We cap membership at eight. Current members include Jason G., Bob K., Mary Jo A., Melanie V., Andrew R., Garrett S., Arryn U. and Brittany W.

The tribe meets every first and third Thursday. Meetings run from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Caffeinated Press office on Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids, just south of 28th Street.

  • Members must be present and actively engaged to stay in the tribe. Participation is assessed every calendar quarter; members must be present and prepared for at least five of six sessions each quarter, except in cases of approved unavoidable absences or cancelations of our meetings because of the weather, holidays, civil disturbances or similar get-out-of-jail-free events.
  • This group is intended for authors writing in any length or genre, who seek publication with a traditional small-, medium- or large-sized press. Members do not need to have a prior publication history to join, but members must demonstrate material progress with manuscripts and periodic evidence of their submission history to maintain membership. Publication with a subsidy/vanity press (i.e., “pay to publish”) or self-publishing exclusively through Amazon/Createspace do not satisfy these requirements; in particular, work with vanity presses may serve as a disqualifier for membership. Although self-publishing is a valid mode of creative expression—one that we fully respect—the educational sessions we conduct and the mode of critiquing we employ are aligned with traditional publishing, and we do not focus on the important technical aspects of self-publishing that help an exclusively self-published author to thrive.
  • No costs associated with membership.
  • Meetings will follow a predictable structure:
    • 25 minutes of socializing and snacking and a general open-forum roundtable — sometimes with snacks!
    • 60 minutes of critiquing each others’ work (critiques arranged in advance; two pieces receiving roughly 30 minutes’ treatment)
    • 30 minutes of a guided educational activity (scheduled in advance, with rotating teaching assignments)
    • 5 minutes for a social/bio break
    • 55 minutes of open writing—mostly quiet, but people who need help or want to collaborate can retreat to a different room to work
    • 5 minutes of wrap-up and assignments for the next session
  • At first, the group will be led by Jason Gillikin. As the group matures, other members will rotate into the chairmanship position.

An ideal candidate for membership will reside in the region, be serious about participating and be actively working to advance his or her career as a commercially viable author. Hobbyist writers who do not seek publication will not find this group to be a good fit, nor will single-book authors (i.e., folks who have “one novel” they want to write, but who have no aspirations beyond it). Early-career authors are welcome, but authors with a weak command of story structure or Standard English syntax are likely to struggle. Our group is open to poets, novelists, non-fiction writers and short-story writers.

Interested? Fill out the form below. Acceptance is not automatic, so please take this application seriously if you wish to participate. Short/terse answers will likely result in the application being rejected.