Eric Grunwald

Writer, Teacher, Translator, Manuscript Consultant


-Lecturer, English Language Studies Group, MIT

-CELOP at Boston University: (ESL; 2008-2014)
-Expository Composition (1998, 2011-12)

Suffolk University:
Creative Writing
American Literature
Freshman Composition

Roxbury Community College:
English as a Second Language
(Grammar, Conversation, Reading,

Grub Street Writers:
Manuscript Consulting

Can also teach:
Line Editing



Eric Grunwald lives in Boston, where he is currently at work on his first novel, a collection of short stories, and other projects. His fiction has appeared in Edit Red (fka Spoiled Ink) and, most recently, Prick of the Spindle. His book reviews have appeared in The Boston Sunday Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Denver Post, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Artsfuse and Agni. His translations (from German) have appeared in Partisan Review (2002), Two Lines (2005), and most recently, The MacGuffin (Hermann Hesse's fairy tale "The Poet," Grunwald's translation of which shared second place in the 1998 Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize. His non-fiction has appeared in The Improper Bostonian.

Currently Grunwald teaches writing and ESL at MIT. He has taught expository composition and ESL at Boston University as well as creative writing, American literature, and composition at Suffolk University. As former chair of PEN New England's Freedom to Write Committee, he directed its prison writing program, organizing and leading writing workshops in men's and women's prisons in Massachusetts.

He now also does fiction and non-fiction manuscript consultations for Grub Street and independently. A graduate of the renowned Boston University Graduate Writing Program, Grunwald was once called by the director "probably the best reader in the class." He gives tactful, thorough, practical critiques. Email me via the link on the right.

An avowed Italophile, Grunwald has for the last several years been studying Italian, spending two- and four-week stints in Venice and elsewhere at language schools. He was fortunate enough to attend the (competitive-entry) Sirenland writers' conference in Positano, Italy, to work with one of his favorite writers, Jim Shepard.

Grunwald holds a BA from Stanford University in Russian and East European history and an MA in creative writing (fiction) from Boston University. From 2000 through early 2004 he was managing editor at the internationally recognized Agni Magazine, overseeing the production of nine biannual issues including a 400-page issue (Agni 54) dedicated to Amnesty International's fortieth anniversary; a 480-page poetry anthology (Agni 56, the magazine's largest issue ever), dedicated to Agni's own thirtieth anniversary; and the first three issues (Agnis 57-59) under acclaimed literary critic Sven Birkerts, the journal's first new editor in its three-decade history.

Grunwald has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation (2003) and the St. Botolph’s Club Foundation (2001), as well as residency fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. He has taught expository composition at Boston University, creative writing at Brookline Adult Education, and English in Berlin Germany. As a longtime member of PEN New England's Freedom to Write Committee (of which he is now chair) teaches volunteer writing workshops at Northampton County Prison and Bay State Correctional Center. He was also co-founder, with William Delman and Kate Woodworth, of the Bay State Underground reading series in Boston.

Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, he began his college career at Stanford fully intending to become an electrical engineer or astrophysicist. He’s still not sure what happened, though he does recall sleeping out in front of the English Department several times to get into creative writing workshops, dropping them after one class, and (according to a classmate) developing a reputation in the Department as “that guy who always signs up for the creative writing workshops but drops them after one class.” After graduation in June 1990 he spent close to a year in Berlin during the German Reunification, first working as a salesperson in a pastry shop, then teaching technical English to engineers from the former German Democratic Republic and becoming fluent in German.

Grunwald has also worked in technology licensing (the quarterly newsletter, Brainstorm, which he conceived, wrote, and edited for four+ years is still being published and was mentioned in the Atlantic Monthly in 2001), technical writing, and university fundraising.

Grunwald encourages you to support your local independent bookstore and wishes to request that if you must use Amazon, for God's sake at least access it through the website for Boston NPR station WBUR, which then receives a small percentage of the sale.

"This is the year. We either get it right, now, or we risk never getting it right, ever."
-- Bill McKibben, Environmental Author, 2009

Eric's Index:

- Number of human brain neurons simulated by an IBM supercomputer in 2012: 10 billion.
- Percentage, roughly, of the human brain, that this represents: 10
- Number of images a Google machine-learning algorithm recently scanned to train itself to recognize cats: 10 million
- Rank in size, at more than 760 students, of a graduate-level machine-learning course compared to all classes at Stanford in fall 2013 : 1
- Percentage increase in the U.S. defense budget since 2000, *not* including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: 80
- Percentage of the U.S. 2009 budget spent on military and defense: 54
- Number of parking spots that exist for every car in the U.S.: 8 (Jan. '11)
- Rank of parking spots in the use of land in the U.S.: 1 (Jan. '11)
- Years before 2008 since a president had taken office with the U.S. in an active war: 40
- Ratio in the U.S. of killings by police to the overall number of arrests: 1 to 37,000
- Ratio in Brazil: 1 to 23
- Total number of abandoned oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico encased in cement: 27,000
- Number of people checking those wells, regularly or irregularly, for leaks: 0
- Current number of experts who know how long cement takes to deteriorate in seawater (or in skyscrapers): 0
- Fastest sprint recorded at the 2010 World Cup, by Javier Hernandez of Mexico: 19.97 mph
- Estimated total distance run by all players prior to the final game: 8,186 miles.
- Amount run by Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) per game, the most of any player at the tournament: 7.1 miles.
- Increase in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers since they signed Lebron James in 2003: $200 million
- Amount Lebron James added to Cleveland economy per year, according to one estimate: $100 million
- Average number of wiretaps authorized by the U.S. Government each year: 1,700
- Number in Italy: 100,000
- Maximum number of friends allowed each user by Facebook: 5,000
- Maximum number of individuals, according to an Oxford anthropologist, with whom the human neocortex can maintain stable interpersonal relationships: 150
- Current population of the United States: 309 million
- Estimated number of smokers in China: 350 million
- Number of times salt or sodium compounds appear in the ingredients list of Hungry Man's roasted turkey dinner: 19
- Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to large U.S. health insurance companies: +87
- Percentage change in the profits of the top ten insurance companies: +428
- Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills has health insurance: 7 in 10
- Portion of its membership that Washington State's subsidized health plan intends to lose this year: 1/3
- Average percentage by which it is raising premiums in order to do so: 70
- Number of lions left in the world as of January 2010: ~20,000
- Number 50 years ago: 450,000
- Number of snow leopards left: 6,500
- Number of tigers: 4,000
- Annual melting rate of glaciers in Greenland in 2006: 36 cubic miles
- Rate in 1996: 21.6 cubic miles
- Amount global sea levels could rise if melting continues at this rate: 20 feet.
- Exxon/Mobil's profits for 2008: $40 billion
- Cost to produce a gallon of bottled water: $0.80-$8
- Cost for tap water: <1 cent
- Number of contaminants the federal government requires tap water to be tested for and reported: 120
- Number of filtration and disinfection requirements for bottled water: 0
- Number of reporting requirements: 0
- Amount of city garbage Boston recycles annually: 15 percent
- Amount Seattle does: 50 percent
- Millions of televisions Americans discard every year: 25
- Millions of cellphones: 130 million
- Tons of toothbrushes: 25,000
- Average amount each Massachusetts resident loses in the state lottery each year: $250.
- Year in which Nick Jonas of the pop group The Jonas Brothers intends to run for president: 2040

Selected Works

Published short story
Translation of Viennese author's short story "Wahrzeichen"
Translation, from German, of Hermann Hesse’s short story “Der Dichter.”
Prose poem/Performance piece
Review of Orfeo, by Richard Powers (from
Review of Margot Livesey's latest novel.
Globe Review of Dr. Olaf van Schuler's Brain by Kirsten Menger-Anderson
Leonardo Sciascia's The Day of the Owl and Equal Danger (from Boston Globe)