Craft on Draft: First Pages

Regardless of genre, authors want to grab their audience from the very first words. Join authors Julie Carrick Dalton (The Last Beekeeper, Waiting for the Night Song), Nancy Crochiere (Graceland), and Shilpi Suneja (House of Caravans) for an interactive discussion about how to captivate your reader right from the start. The conversation will be moderated by Desmond Hall (Your Corner Dark).

Attendees are invited to bring a printed copy of their first 100 words of a project to have a chance to get live reactions from our authors during the event.

Craft on Draft is a reading series created and managed by alumni of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program devoted to great fiction and the mechanics behind it.


Author bios:

Shilpi Suneja is the author of House of Caravans. Born in India, her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Guernica, McSweeney’s, Cognoscenti, and the Michigan Quarterly Review. Her writing has been supported by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship, and a Grub Street Novel Incubator Scholarship, and she was the Desai fellow at the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She holds an MA in English from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University, where she was awarded the Saul Bellow Prize. She lives in Cambridge, MA.


For thirteen years, Nancy Crochiere chronicled the ups and downs of family life—including her obsession with George Clooney—in her humorous newspaper column, “The Mother Load.” Nancy’s debut novel, Graceland, published in May by HarperCollins, was named a top summer read by Parade and Deep South Magazines, listed among the best books of spring by Woman’s World and BookBub, and was the July pick for both PopSugar and actress Raegan Revord’s book clubs. Nancy lives in Amesbury with her husband and a few house plants that could use more attention.


Julie Carrick Dalton is the author of The Last Beekeeper and Waiting for the Night Song, a CNN, USA Today, Parade, and Newsweek Most Anticipated 2021 novel. A Bread Loaf, Tin House, and GrubStreet Novel Incubator alum, she is a faculty member of the San Miguel Writer's Conference in Mexico. In 2024, she will be joining the teaching faculty of Drexel University's MFA in Creative Writing. Her writing has appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Hollywood Reporter, Orion, Chicago Review of Books, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, and other publications. She is the winner of the William Faulkner Literary Award and the Writer’s League of Texas award for contemporary and literary fiction. With a background in journalism, agriculture, and beekeeping, she is a frequent speaker on the topic of fiction in the age of climate crisis at universities, museums, libraries, conferences, and book festivals. She is currently working on her third novel, slated for publication in 2025.

Short book descriptions:

House of Caravans is a marvelous debut novel exploring the fractures caused by the Partition of India, as well as the legacy and contemporary parallels of sectarian violence around the world. It portrays a family and nations divided by the living legacy of colonialism. Three generations of a family that has seen bloodshed, bias, and prejudice – the youngest generation, a brother and sister, resolve to reconnect, and to understand the painful twists and turns in the family’s story. Moving back and forth from Lahore, British India in 1943 to Kanpur, India in 2002, this richly evocative and timely historical novel shows the tumultuous years surrounding Partition and the era of renewed global sectarianism following 9/11. “Tolstoyan in its scope” (Ha Jin).

Flamboyant soap star Olivia Grant has been obsessed with Elvis all her life, and now that she’s ailing and on oxygen, Olivia is determined to visit Graceland one last time. To do this, though, she needs her daughter, Hope, to take her, and that’s one thing Hope can’t do. Hope fled Memphis years earlier with a secret and a promise never to return. Undeterred, Olivia wrangles Hope’s pink-haired teenage daughter into driving her from Boston to Memphis, leaving Hope no choice but to give chase. She must stop her mother and daughter before they expose the secret that will spell disaster for their family.

The Last Beekeeper is a near-future story about the tenuous relationship between a beekeeper and his daughter as the world's pollinator population collapses, launching the world into agricultural, economic, and political crises. It's a story about found family, secrets, redemption, speaking truth to power, and hope in the face of a global crisis. Perfect for fans of Station Eleven and Once There Were Wolves.

Event date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2023 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Event address: 
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
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