Alina Grabowski

Alina Grabowski’s stories have appeared in the Masters Review, Joyland, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Peregrin Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, and Day One, among others. has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Juniper Summer Writing Institute in 2017. She was a 2019 Emerging Writer Fellow at Aspen Summer Words and was an English Department/Curb Center Third-Year Fellow at Vanderbilt University in 2018-19. She was awarded an Emerging Artist Residency in Grinnell, Iowa by Grin City Collective in 2015 to work on a collection of stories. Her story, “Confirmation”, won the Masters Review Summer short Story Award.  Her short fiction piece, “The Great American Road Trip”, was an honorable mention for the 2012 Adroit Prize for Prose.

In an interview with The Nashville Review, Grabowski shared her stance on writing emotion. She said, “As a reader, I am drawn to work that feels emotionally risky. Judy Claire Mitchell said that if you aren’t close enough to look into the gaping hole of sentimentality, then you aren’t close enough. I love this idea of sentimentality as a black hole. You don’t want to get sucked in, but you want to walk the edge of it. There is a tendency in student work and some contemporary work in general to veer away from emotion, because fear of sentimentality is so powerful—the result is that everything becomes very stripped down. That kind of work doesn’t resonate as much for me. 

Characters typically have a pretty clear sense of what they’re feeling at a given point. Emotion is powerful, and we feel it in our bodies as well as in our minds. That’s something I want to reflect on the page, and I really admire work that is willing to rub right up against that… I think work is only sentimental when it’s reaching for the easiest possible emotion and when that emotion is the only point… I think what I admire in the work that I love and that moves me is that there are these deeper layers, and that’s I think what makes the characters feel so complex and so living… So, I try to write my way deeper and deeper and deeper.” 

Grabowski earned her B.A. in English at the University of Pennsylvania. She went on to earn her M.F.A. in Creative Writing with an emphasis on Fiction from Vanderbilt where she served as fiction editor of the Nashville Review. She taught fiction and creative writing and led writing workshops for individuals impacted by cancer.

Hailing from coastal Massachusetts, Grabowski lives in Austin, Texas. She is currently at work on a short story collection and a novel that explores a local tragedy through the eyes and voices of ten different women.

Updated June 2022

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