The Gist

Our three-day literary conference educates aspiring and emerging writers on the craft of fiction and nonfiction, prepares them for the ever-changing world of publishing and promotion, and creates opportunities for meaningful networking.

Established and emerging authors lead 130+ interactive sessions on the craft of writing – the “muse” side of things – while editors, literary agents and other industry professionals tackle the business side – the “marketplace.” Though 800+ presenters, participants, volunteers, and special guests will attend, GrubStreet creates an intimate atmosphere designed to give everyone access to the wealth of talent on both sides of the classroom.

Additionally, The Muse features special events, which have included keynote addresses, evening receptions, full breakfasts, Literary Idol, a competition for self-published authors, and many more.

The Muse and the Marketplace is one of the few conferences that offers a concrete and candid assessment of your fiction and/or nonfiction manuscript. For an additional fee, attendees meet one-on-one in our Manuscript Mart with an established literary agent, an acquiring editor at a publishing house, and/or a literary journal editor. These consultants will evaluate twenty pages of your manuscript in advance of the conference and provide in-person feedback.

At the Shop Talk Happy Hour attendees network and socialize with invited agents, editors, authors and/or other presenters. Shop Talk tables, which require an additional fee, are reserved in advance so you’ll know exactly which publishing professionals you’ll be sitting with.

Registration & Payment

The cost of the Muse and the Marketplace varies depending on your membership status, the number of days you attend, when you're registering, and your optional participation in the Manuscript Mart and/or Shop Talk Happy Hour.

The Muse & the Marketplace 2020 Fees:

All 3 Days: $559 / GrubStreet members get $40 off!

Friday or Saturday Only: $415 / GrubStreet members get $26 off!

Add Ons:

Manuscript Mart: $200 per meeting

Shop Talk Happy Hour: $100


As a non-profit, GrubStreet seeks to be an affordable and accessible organization, and to produce a Muse conference that is budget-neutral. The cost of producing the Muse (which includes venue rentals, materials, attendee meals, presenter fees, staffing, etc.) is covered partially by attendee fees, with the remaining portion covered by generous sponsorships and donations.

We understand that the cost of this conference is high for many of our community, and to that end we annually increase our available scholarship dollars. We’ve worked hard to keep Muse prices as low as possible, conducting a thorough review of our budget needs and evaluating other nationwide conference offerings. After completing this process, we can assuredly say that Muse 2020 is one of the highest-value writing conferences in the country. 

Please know that in accordance with the AAR Canon of Ethics, we do not pay agents and editors to read and evaluate samples at the Manuscript Mart. Instead, they receive a small honoraria to help cover their weekend expenses.

The Muse & the Marketplace Keynote Speakers

Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2020

Luís Alberto Urrea, 2019

Stacey D'Erasmo, 2019

Min Jin Lee, 2018

Peter Ho Davies, 2018

Isabel Wilkerson, 2017

Colum McCann, 2016

Aminatta Forna, 2015

Regina Brooks, 2015

Walter Mosley, 2014

Jane Friedman, 2014

James Wood, 2013

Amanda Palmer, 2013

Julia Alvarez, 2012

Richard Nash, 2012

Ron Carlson, 2011

Chuck Palahniuk, 2010

Ann Patchett, 2009

Jonathan Franzen, 2008

Charles Baxter, 2007

Grace Paley, 2007

Ethan Canin, 2005

Jennifer Haigh, 2005

Lan Samantha Chang, 2005

Matthew Pearl, 2005

Dennis Lehane, 2004

Julia Glass, 2004

Arthur Golden, 2003

Margot Livesey, 2003