The Short of It
Colwill Brown is the Writer-in-Residence at Wellspring House; Instructor and Consultant at GrubStreet, the nation’s leading creative writing center; and Fiction Editor at Pangyrus magazine. After graduating a scholarship awardee of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, Colwill found representation for her first novel, Before We Tear Our Selves Apart, with Robert Guinsler of Sterling Lord Literistic, which is currently on submission to publishing houses. She is the recipient of a work-study scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Seaton Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing at Kansas State University, an artist residency at the Anderson Center, a Crawley-Garwood Research Grant, and the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize. She has received additional awards and support from the University of Texas at Austin, Boston College, and Kansas State University. Her creative work was a finalist in the 2019 Tennessee Williams fiction prize, a finalist for the Reynolds Price Fiction Award, a notable entry in the 2019 Disquiet International literary prize, and a finalist for the 2019 Lit Fest Emerging Writer Fellowship. Colwill is especially proud to call herself a founding member of the Back Porch Collective, a Boston-based group of writers. With members connected to Cuba, India, Albania, Atlanta, Bosnia, Miami, Jamaica, and the UK, they bonded over a common passion for global narratives and literature’s potential to create empathy and understanding across all geographical, political, and cultural borders. Hailing from Yorkshire, in the north of England, Colwill is determined to introduce the word “sozzard” to the American vernacular.
The Long of It
Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Colwill defected to the States in the winter of 2011. She was educated at Leeds University in England, where she received a BA with honors in English Language and Literature (International), with stints at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Kansas State University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, where she was awarded the Seaton Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. Most recently, Colwill completed a Master’s degree in English Literature at Boston College, where she was awarded a full scholarship and the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize.
Colwill has worked behind a bar, in a restaurant kitchen, as a door-to-door makeup saleswoman, as a call-centre operative, in a newsroom, as a fundraiser, as a writing instructor, and in a record store, on both sides of the Atlantic. She has played the saxophone at a German jazz festival, the flute at a French vineyard, and the bass guitar in every rock venue on South Yorkshire’s toilet circuit.
In Boston, Colwill organized arts festivals as Events Manager for the Boston College Arts Council, and spent several blissful months as a bookseller for the wonderful Newtonville Books before finding a professional home at GrubStreet, the nation’s leading creative writing center, as their Marketing and Community Engagement Manager.
Colwill kept Grub’s large community of writers, readers, and industry professionals connected via e-communications and social media channels; developed and executed digital campaigns for the national Muse & the Marketplace conference, GrubStreet’s advanced programs, an ongoing series of free community-based workshops, and 500+ creative writing courses annually. She co-founded the Boston Writers of Color group and was a founding member of GrubStreet’s access team, dedicated to furthering cultural and economic access to GrubStreet programs. She also managed the marketing and logistics of regular GrubStreet open houses and writers of color events, coordinated GrubStreet presence at AWP and the Boston Book Festival, and directed social media, video/photography, and attendee communications at the Muse conference and Lit Up, GrubStreet’s annual gala. Colwill served as editor of GrubWrites, GrubStreet’s online publication, and oversaw the creation and maintenance of all website content to uphold brand standards and ensure quality and consistency of copy, and supervised the production of marketing collateral including image, video, and print materials. In her four years at GrubStreet, Colwill has made significant contributions to the organization’s new mission statement, re-branding process, and institutional marketing strategy.
After accepting a fellowship at Wellspring House, a retreat for writers and artists on the edge of the Berkshires, Colwill became Wellspring’s Writer-in-Residence while continuing as Editor of GrubWrites, online instructor, and consultant at GrubStreet. At Wellspring, Colwill manages social media and marketing strategy for the retreat and is working away at her second novel Histerya, set in her native Yorkshire and following the struggle of four generations of women as they fight against a misogynistic land grab designed to rob them of their matrilineal birthright.
Her creative work has appeared in Solstice Literary Magazine, The Conium Review, Poetry & Audience, Dead Darlings, GrubWrites, and other places, and is anthologized in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet Volume III(Press 53). For a full list of publications and editorial achievements, check out her publications page. She’s served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine and The Conium Review, and is currently Fiction Editor at Pangyrus magazine. Colwill is a graduate of the 2014-15 Novel Incubator program at GrubStreet.