Craft on Draft is a reading series created and managed by alumni of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program and devoted to great fiction—and the mechanics behind it. Three authors read and discuss their work, plus that of one lucky audience member. So grab a drink, a page of your own writing, and come craft your own draft.


Next Craft on Draft

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
World Building: Turning Setting into Character

For some books, the setting is so pivotal, the story could not take place anywhere else. How do authors build such a strong sense of place that it becomes another character? Join us as we discuss building worlds that become characters.

Featuring three debut authors:

Julie Carrick Dalton, author of Waiting for the Night Song

Desmond Hall, author of Your Corner Dark

Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie

Registration is now open through our sponsor Belmont Books!

Julie Carrick Dalton’s debut novel Waiting for the Night Song has been named to Most Anticipated 2021 book lists by CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, Parade, Buzzfeed, and others, and was an Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Books of the Month in January. As a journalist, Julie has published more than a thousand articles in publications including The Boston Globe, BusinessWeek, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Chicago Review of Books. She is the winner of the William Faulkner Literary Competition and a finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature. A Tin House alum, 2021 Bread Loaf Environmental Writer’s Conference Fellow, and graduate of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator, Julie is a member of the Climate Fiction Writers League and is a frequent speaker and workshop leader on the topic of Fiction in the Age of Climate Crisis. Mom to four kids and two dogs, Julie also owns a small farm in rural New Hampshire.

Desmond Hall is a Jamaican born author whose debut YA novel, Your Corner Dark, was inspired by the murder of his uncle in Jamaica. Your Corner Dark is a searing and gritty book that looks at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family. The book confronts police brutality, colorism, gang culture, and political deception. Hall has written and directed “A Day in Black and White,” a HBO feature movie that was nominated for the Gordon Parks Award.  He’s also written and directed a full-length stage play, “Stockholm, Brooklyn” that won the Audience Award at the Downtown Theater Festival at the Cherry Lane Theater. As a former advertising creative director, Hall has written two Superbowl commercials and won multiple awards while running the creative side of Spike Lee’s advertising agency. Hall is a graduate of Grubstreet’s Novel Incubator.

Nancy Johnson, a native of Chicago’s south side, writes at the intersection of race and class. Her debut novel, The Kindest Lie, has been reviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s Must List. It’s been named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 by Newsweek, O, the Oprah Magazine, Shondaland, NBC News, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, Good Housekeeping, Parade, Refinery29, and more. Booksellers nationwide selected her novel as an Indie Next pick and librarians chose it for LibraryReads. Her work has been published in Real Simple and O, The Oprah Magazine, and has received support from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, Tin House, and Kimbilio Fiction. Nancy lives in downtown Chicago.


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