Texas State Updates: Praise for ‘Mentor: A Memoir’

Director of creative writing MFA
earns honors for book

The story of the relationship between the director of Texas State’s MFA in creative writing program and his mentor has earned a number of end-of-year honors.

Tom Grimes’ book, Mentor: A Memoir, chronicles his time working under Frank Conroy, at the time the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Mentor: A Memoir was named one of the top non-fiction books of the year by the Washington Post. Reviewer Michael Dirda noted that “from now on, anyone who dreams of becoming a novelist will need to read Tom Grimes’ brutally honest and wonderful memoir.”

Tom Grimes

It also was chosen as one of the top 25 non-fiction books of the year and one of the best memoirs of the year by Kirkus Reviews, which called the book “an illuminating account of a writer’s life under the tutelage of another writer.”

The online book journal added, “Without wasting a word, Grimes presents a thoroughly readable view of how stories — and writers, at least of a certain kind — are made.”

The book was selected as a best winter reading selection by E. Ethelbert Miller, director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, for the Kojo Nnamdi Show on American Public Radio.

The Publishers Weekly review of Mentor: A Memoir calls it “A grim look back at a writer’s journey from publication to crippling self-doubt” which led Grimes to reflect deeply on Conroy.

Audio of Grimes’ reading from Mentor: A Memoir for the “Live from Prairie Lights” radio show at the Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa, is available online.

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