The prolific writer talks how D.C. has helped her writing process, from her books to the literary magazine Grace & Gravity.
Along with teaching writing at American University, Melissa Scholes Young also edits Grace & Gravity, a literary magazine dedicated to the voices of D.C.’s women. We caught up with Scholes Young to talk her many books, the legacy and future of Grace & Gravity and finding inspiration in D.C.
District Fray: What’s new for Grace & Gravity?
Scholes Young: “Grace in Love” is the 10th volume of the Grace & Gravity anthology series. It features fiction and nonfiction stories about heartbreak, romance, desire, self-love, family bonds and more. In the past 20 years, the project has published nine volumes of more than 300 local women writers. The project was founded by Richard Peabody and I’ve been honored to edit the project for the past five years. With grants provided by the Humanities Truck and the Maryland State Arts Council, the Grace & Gravity project is like a food truck for feminist publishing.
Where do you find inspiration in D.C. and as a writer – and why?
I spend my time at local independent bookstores. I’ve attended 10 book launches this summer, so I’m working my way through that stack. If I’m not in D.C., I’m at the Porches, a writing residency in Norwood, Virginia run by the poet Trudy Hale, or I’m in a studio at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. I also teach and do manuscript consultations every summer at the Tennants Cove Writers Workshop in New Brunswick, Canada. Wherever I am, I have a book and my journal. I’m always writing.
How has the literary community in D.C. helped your work?
D.C. is where I’ve built my literary career. I moved here more than a decade ago, and I spent my early days in town attending readings, meeting writers at workshops, learning about the literary community and strolling art galleries. It’s an incredibly vibrant city of art, and our local is national. It fills me up to be in a place where important conversations are happening on and off the page.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on three projects: my third novel, a memoir, and a screenplay to adapt my first novel, “Flood.” My second novel, “The Hive,” is optioned by Sony Entertainment so that’s an ongoing project, too. As an editor, we launched “Grace in Love” last May, so we’re promoting the contributors and planning fall events. Next year is our 20th anniversary of the project, and we’re having a huge party. As a professor, I’m working on my fall syllabus and directing the undergraduate creative writing program, so much of my summer is spent hiring, scheduling, mentoring and in meetings.
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