If you’ve been in a writing group, you know how valuable it is to have a community of writerly peers to debate craft with, to vent with about rejection and rejoice with over triumphs, large and small.
But what if, beyond feeling like family and supporting you through your next round of revisions, your writing group was powerful? So powerful, in fact, that the manuscripts emerging from it regularly went on to land major publishing deals and launch the type of literary careers most of us only dream of?
It may sound too good to be true. But in the Boston area, a cluster of modest, hard-working novelists formed a writing group back in 2012 that has played a key role in catapulting authors including Celeste Ng, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and Grace Talusan into the literary limelight. And under the deceptively unassuming name “the Chunky Monkeys,” this writing group on steroids has just recently seen 3 of its members simultaneously achieve stunning — almost unheard of — success:
- Sonya Larson’s story “Gabe Dove” was published in Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Short Stories 2017 .
- The debut novel The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer sold to Little, Brown in late September, in a highly buzzed-about, 7-figure deal that followed an intense bidding war and was covered by Entertainment Weekly and the Boston Globe.
- Chip Cheek‘s debut novel, Cape May, sold in another major deal – pre-emptive – to Celadon Books in the new Macmillan imprint’s first acquisition.