Reading Tom Grimes’ memoir about his time at the Iowa Writers Workshop–and his long-running relationship with its famed director, Frank Conroy–has brought on a combination of nostalgia and post-traumatic stress syndrome in your humble podcasters, who both graduated from the Workshop roughly a decade after Grimes. Tom recounts his first, humbling workshop with Conroy, and Mike realizes he’s always longed for the kind of mentor relationship so lovingly described in the book.
Grimes has described Mentor as the autobiography of a failed novelist, though one clear lesson of the book is that success and failure are both relative.
Join us for a discussion of struggling writers, mentorship, career anxiety, and literary gossip. Also, we do talk about the book a little bit.
Oh, and a quick announcement: We have a new partner in Powell’s Books. If you’re not familiar with Powell’s, it’s a great indie bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and they also sell books online. So you can shop with the convenience of Amazon while supporting an actual brick-and-mortar business (a pretty great one, at that). Just click on the Powell’s link below–or the one over there on the sidebar–and for every purchase you make, Powell’s will donate a little money to the Book Fight podcast. You don’t even have to buy our recommended books. If you use the Book Fight link, anything you buy while on the Powell’s site will count. Everyone wins!
As always, you can stream the episode below, download the mp3 file directly, or click on the iTunes badge to get all our episodes (for free!) through the iTunes store.
Download Episode 16: Tom Grimes, Mentor (right-click, save-as)
P.S. – if you find yourself wanting to know more about Frank Conroy, you should check out this collection of students’ memories of Frank on Eyeshot.