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Grotto Dwellers - Current & Past

Current Grotto dwellers at the South Park location include:

  • Tom Barbash, novelist and short story writer, and writing teacher at Stanford and CAC. His first novel is The Last Good Chance. He is also the author of the bestseller On Top of the World.

  • ALLISON BARTLETT has written on a variety of topics for the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, and The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. She's currently at work on a book about a rare book thief and the dealer- cum-detective who tracked him down. She's just finished a long feature on this subject for San Francisco Magazine, which will be in the February issue.

  • NATALIE BASZILE is currently enrolled the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers where she is a Holden Minority Scholar. She is also a Zyzzyva board member. An excerpt from her novel-in-progress was recently published in Cairn.

  • J.D. Beltran is an artist interested in portraiture, self-portraiture, and the integration of traditional and emerging art media. Her work has been screened and exhibited at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, New York, and at other museums, galleries and film festivals internationally. She recently was awarded the Silver Award by I.D. Magazine for an artwork commissioned by MIT Media Lab.

  • ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN is a fiction writer working on a collection of short stories. She's also the founder and editor of The Big Ugly Review, an online literary magazine. Her short story, "Alice," won first prize in the Bay Guardian fiction contest, and is currently being developed as a film. Her plays have been produced in several venues, including the Exit Theater, The PlayGround, Impact Theatre and Fringe of Marin.

  • Po Bronson's most recent work of nonfiction is Why Do I Love These People?, Honest and Amazing Stories of Real Families. His previous book of nonfiction, What Should I Do With My Life?, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. He has also written features for Wired and the New York Times Magazine. In addition he is on the board of directors of Consortium, the exclusive distributor of over 60 fine independent publishers such as City Lights, Feminist Press, and Alyson Publications. 

  • Xandra Castleton, independent television and film producer. She is the producer for Full Grown Men, the new film directed by David Munro. She produced PBS's show about independent film, Independent View, and her new film, Orange Sunshine, will be finished in 2002. 

  • MARIANNA CHERRY has been published in The 2001 Pushcart Prize XXV, Chelsea Magazine (Chelsea Award for Fiction 1998), Fourteen Hills, Libido and Best Women’s Erotica. She received a B.A. in English from Columbia University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. If you know anyone in Hollywood looking for a feature-length romantic comedy, she's currently working on her first novel.

  • Christopher D. Cook, an award-winning investigative journalist whose work has appeared in Harpers' Magazine, Mother Jones, The Nation and other national publications. 

  • David Duncan, author of Masterminds and The Calendar, contributor to Vanity Fair and Wired, occasional essayist for Morning Edition, and producer for ABC News.

  • HELENA ECHLIN is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. She's the author of the novel GONE (Secker/Random House), and she recently completed a second novel, Pink Pill. She writes a column for San Francisco magazine, and her writing has been published in the London Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. She earned a BA in English with first-class honors from Oxford University and an MA in English from Yale University, where she worked with author Robert Stone and was awarded the Frances Bergen Prize for her fiction.

  • Amanda Field is a managing editor at Zyzzyva, and is pursuing her MFA in poetry at the University of San Francisco.

  • Rodes Fishburne has written for numerous magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Forbes ASAP, where he was the editor of the "Big Issue," an annual collection of widely anthologized essays from leading writers and thinkers. The Drilling Company performed his one-act play, "Note to Self," off-Broadway in November 2002. He is currently writing a novel. He can be reached at rodes@sfgrotto.org

  • Laura Fraser, author of an An Italian Affair and Losing It

  • Susan Gerhard is a film maker AND a writer. She's fusing the two these days in a book about documentary film making.

  • MELANIE GIDEON is a noted author of imaginative fiction, including THE MAP THAT BREATHED (Astarte), THE GIRL WHO SWALLOWED THE MOON (Henry Holt) and the forthcoming PUCKER (Razorbill).

  • KAUI HART HEMMINGS is the author of the recent short story collection HOUSE OF THIEVES (Penguin), and has published fiction in Zoetrope, StoryQuarterly and Best American Nonrequired Reading.

  • RACHEL HOWARD is a freelance dance critic and book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her memoir, THE LOST NIGHT: A Daughter’s Search for the Truth of Her Father’s Murder, was recently published by Dutton. She also writes fiction and is currently at work on short stories as well as a novel.

  • GERARD JONES is the author of five books, numerous graphic novels, a nationally syndicated comic strip, and many articles on mass media, childhood, and American culture. His most recent book is MEN OF TOMORROW: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book (Basic Books).

  • Maureen Kennedy is working on a novel. She is also a journalist.

  • Constance Loizos usually covers business and has been published in Business Week, Fast Company, Business 2.0, et cetera.

  • ERIC MARTIN has published two novels (LUCK and WINNERS), and is finishing up his third, set to be published next year. He also teaches creative writing at CCA and New College.

  • VICTOR MARTINEZ is a poet, fiction writer, and recipient of the National Book Award for his novel PARROT IN THE OVEN: Mi Vida (HarperCollins).

  • JOSH MCHUGH is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine and has written for Outside, Forbes, and a bunch of other magazines. He once expired briefly while working as a test subject in a NASA hypergravity experiment, and, while short, is training to dunk a basketball on a regulation rim.

  • David Munro, independent film director and screenwriter. His forthcoming feature film, which he also wrote, is Full Grown Men. He directed the award-winning shorts Bullethead and First Love Second Planet, screenwriter, and lead vocalist for the hillbilly thunder band Joe Buck. His previous film, starring Beth Lisick and Yuri Lane, was Compulsory Breathing.

  • Todd Oppenheimer, contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, winner of the National Magazine Award, and author of a book about education from Random House, The Flickering Mind.

  • PETER ORNER is the author of the short story collection THE ESTHER STORIES (Houghton Mifflin) a New York Times Notable book and Finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, the Paris Review, McSweeney's, Best American Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. His novel, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo will be out in April from Little Brown.

  • ZZ PACKER is the author of the short story collection DRINKING COFFEE ELSEWHERE (Riverhead Books). Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's and several anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories 2000.

  • Caroline Paul, author of Fighting Fire, and the forthcoming novel East Wind Rain

  • B. RUBY RICH is a well-respected film critic, cultural theorist and author. She regularly contributes to the Village Voice, the Guardian, Elle, Mirabella, the NY Times and the Nation.

  • Jason Roberts, author of several nonfiction books and a contributor to the Village Voice, the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. His forthcoming nonfiction book is A Sense of the World, about the blind man who was history's greatest traveler. 

  • JULIA SCHEERES left Indiana when she turned 18 and never looked back. She is fluent in Spanish and has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Wired and other publications. Her memoir, JESUS LAND, was published in October 2005. She is working on a novel.

  • CAMERON TUTTLE is best known as the author of the popular BAD GIRLS' GUIDE series of books (and calendars, and notepads, and even stamp kits), published by Chronicle Books. She's also written THE PARANOID'S POCKET GUIDE.

  • Ethan Watters, author of Urban Tribes, as well as Therapy's Delusions and Making Monsters

Current dwellers of the Sanchez Grotto Annex include:

  • Alison Bing - art and food critic, Lonely Planet contributor, editor, and self-styled content maven 

  • Melodie Bowsher - journalist, and author of the forthcoming My Lost and Found Life, a novel. 

  • Michael Chorost- freelance writer, contributor to Wired, and author of Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human 

  • Scott James (aka Kemble Scott) - journalist, editor of the SOMA Literary Review, and author of the forthcoming SOMA (a novel) 

  • Kara Knapfelc - Travel writer, Lonely Planet contributor, USF writing instructor, and fiction writer 

  • Paul Linde - psychiatrist and author of Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa 

  • Shana Mahaffey - fiction author and web content contributor 

  • Rob Tocalino - freelance writer, 826 Valencia stalwart, freelance web content provider, and fiction writer. His blog can be found at: http://www.westernegg.com/eggblog/

  • Diane Weipert - Diane is a freelance writer, translator, and contributor to Salon.com. She wrote the screenplay for Diego Luna's latest film, Solo Dios Sabe, which premiered at Sundance in January, 2006.

  • Doug Wilkins (aka Wells Dunbar) - professional goof-off, and author of the forthcoming novel of futuristic nostalgia, Wag and the Distant Bums, as well as the young reader's novel Trudy and the Transdimensional Trolley

Current dwellers of the Oakland space include:

  • Mary Roach, author of the bestsellers Spook and Stiff

  • Lisa Margonelli, feature writer for various magazines. She's working on a big, multinational book about oil.

  • Elizabeth Thompson, documentary filmmaker, most recently of Blink, which won an Emmy

  • Joe Loya, author of THE MAN WHO OUTGREW HIS PRISON CELL.

  • Beth Lisick, acclaimed performance storyteller and author of several books, most notably "Everyone Into the Pool"

Past dwellers of the Grotto include:

  • Noah Hawley's movie The Alibi will be in theaters in Spring 2006. He wrote the screenplay. He also wrote and directed his first film, “Being Vincent,” as part of the Fox Searchlab program. His novels are “A Conspiracy of Tall Men” and the wonderful “Other People's Weddings.” He is a staff writer on the television show, "Bones."  

  • Ethan Canin, author of the books Carry Me Across the Water, For Kings and Planets, The Palace Thief, Blue River, and Emperor of the Air. The Palace Thief was recently made into a movie starring Kevin Kline by Universal Pictures.

  • Vendela Vida's first novel is "And Now You Can Go." She is a founder and editor of The Believer magazine. Her first book was "Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Drive-Bys, and Other Initiations," on female bonding and transition rituals.

  • Josh Kornbluth, actor, and monologist of Red Diaper Baby, Haiku Tunnel, the Mathematics of Change, Pumping Copy, Ben Franklin: Unplugged, and star of the movie Haiku Tunnel

  • Lucas Sussman, screenwriter -- his movie Below was in theaters in 2002.

  • Lisa Margonelli, Senior Contributing Editor to Jane and feature writer for various magazines. She's working on a big, multinational book about oil.

  • Alex Wellen is the author of Barman: Ping Pong, Pathos, and Passing the Bar, 2003, Harmony. He's been an independent television producer, and is at work on another book and several television dramas. He is also now a producer at CNN. 

  • Kevin Smokler is the publisher of CentralBooking.com, an online community for lovers of books, reading and contemporary literature

  • Ed Hodson, fiction writer

  • Jon and Bonnie Shenk, documentary filmmakers

  • Tessa Souter, our grand matriarch, Jazz singer, and contributor to many, many publications in the UK and America.

  • Sally Lehrman, Stanford Knight Fellow

  • Tom Molitor, screenwriter

  • Kristina Robbins, actor and solo performer

  • Todd Lappin, longtime editor at Wired and now Business 2.0, and contributor to the New York Times

  • Scott Balcerek, documentary filmmaker and video effects editor at ILM for Star Wars, and guitarist  for the hillbilly thunder band Joe Buck

  • Dan Hubig, editorial cartoonist and illustrator

  • Mark Roberts, San Francisco bureau chief/correspondent for The Economist

  • Leora Broydo Vestel writes for magazines like Mother Jones, Self, Spin and Utne Reader. She's also a charter member of the Shmorgasbook All-You-Can-Read Literary Guild.