Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Slice of Wheat with Capote on the Side!

Many of us are familiar with Bread Loaf, that famed 80+ years old writing conference that takes place yearly in Vermont. The sleepy town (I'm assuming it's sleepy, because that's the way most of these towns are...apparently) is the place to be to meet those glittering literati: agents, editors, and writers both experienced and greenhorned.

According to this recent article in the Post, getting into Bread Loaf could be as easy as getting a job at IHOP (not really). A select group of applicants have their tuition covered by working the kitchen and meal hours as...waiters.

What's more, our very own Alan Cheuse once served as part of the wait-staff at Bread Loaf, as did Amy Hempel and Julia Alvarez. And more than one waiter/ess has been said to slip a manuscript to some famous you-know-who along with his or her order of baked potato and chicken almondine. (It's all in the wrist).

Check it out! Perhaps, one day, a student or two from our very own MFA program may have the privilege of saying they left the program to serve...and got their big break.


  1. In fact, a recent (spring 08) nonfiction MFA grad, Mike Scalise, was selected as a waiter up there. He posted a few notes as it went along on Twitter and a sort of summary here

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, DH. It was a great time: everyone should do it if they have the chance. I got to wear my awesome MASON MFA Writer to dinner service, where I gave Susan Orlean a refill on her coffee.

    Here's the small rundown of the thing:

    And here's the issue of the Crumb with my "performance review" (on page 2):

    Also, I should note that former Mason faculty member Matt Bondurant was a two-time waiter, and excellent nonfictioner Casey Wiley studied under David Sheilds there last year. All of this is to say: let's get some more Mason folk there asap.

  3. While we're doing Mason shout-outs, I thought I'd mention that Mason MFA faculty member Susan Shreve ( was on the fiction Bread Loaf faculty for the 2000 conference. I remember hearing that in passing and I double checked it on the internet. I also found that she was a Bread Loaf fellow and on staff (translation: waitress?) in 1974-76.

  4. But wait, there's more: Sally Keith is on the advisory board there, and Susan's son Porter Shreve gave a presentation there this summer. Bev Lowry was faculty in the 90s, and Kyoko Mori was a fellow a while back after her first book came out. Dick Bausch was Dick Bausch there for quite some time, too.

    Regardless: there are never enough Mason people invading Middlebury as far as I'm concerned. You all should be waiting tables there asap.