The Short of It
Colwill is an instructor and manuscript consultant at GrubStreet, an associate editor at Bat City Review, and an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. 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 the Wellspring House Emerging Writer Fellowship, the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize, and a Crawley-Garwood Research Grant, and has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The University of Texas at Austin, Boston College, Kansas State University, the Anderson Center for Disciplinary Studies, and GrubStreet. She was a finalist for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize, the 2019 Reynolds Price Award, the 2019 Far Horizons Fiction Award, the 2019 Disquiet International Literary Prize, and the 2019 Lit Fest Emerging Writer Fellowship. Colwill’s fiction is forthcoming in Granta and is anthologized in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet Volume III (Press 53). She has served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine, The Conium Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Pangyrus magazine. Colwill is 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 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 managed social media and marketing strategy for the retreat and worked on 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.
For a full list of publications and editorial achievements, check out her publications page.