the book at Lulu.com
discussion questions for
Corrigan's speech at the award ceremony
Mulcahy's speech at the award ceremony
Grosh's speech at the award ceremony
read the first
chapter (pdf document)
Democrat & Chronicle coverage
Elaine Barlow has a bargain with her husband George: if she doesn’t
find a new job by year’s end, he will choose their next move and
re-establish his vet practice, which will probably spell the end of her
career. Elaine used to be a high-flyer. She got her PhD, traveled all over
Africa on a string of prestigious research fellowships, and landed a top-notch
university teaching job. But she failed at the game of academic politics,
she didn’t get tenure, and now she can’t seem to find another
job. She’s lost her paycheck, her social status and her self-esteem.
Stripped of her professional identity, Elaine lives a life of errands with
her preschool daughter Stella. She listens to former colleagues being interviewed
on NPR, while she has become invisible. Elaine studies the people she meets
to see how they do it—how they live without tenure. She begins to
imagine herself as something else. Lawyer? Teacher? Wildlife rehabilitator?
Convenience store clerk? Long days with the spirited Stella leave Elaine
feeling like a double failure. George stays out late several nights a week,
supposedly working long hours at the job he hates. Can Elaine pull herself
together before her marriage collapses too?
Finally, Elaine gets a chance at another academic job, but George refuses
to relocate for it. He obviously has a secret, and Elaine fears the worst.
But Elaine has been learning—from a manicurist, a flooring salesman,
her former students, her parents, Stella, and their menagerie of special
needs pets. She learns that it’s never too late to grow into a person
you respect. And when that happens, anything is possible.
Author wins Xerox contest
Pittsford woman's book to star on Lulu.com
(September 13, 2005) — Barbara Grosh had begun to learn about
the trials of being a novelist. She'd been working on a manuscript since
1999 and recently sent copies to several literary agents who replied
with rejection letters.
Today, the Pittsford resident will learn what it's like to become a
standardbearer for the burgeoning world of on-demand publishing.
Grosh has been named the winner of Xerox Corp.'s Aspiring Authors contest for
her book Tenure Track to Mommyville. Her prize: Having her book featured
on Lulu.com, an on-demand book publishing site that co-sponsored the contest.
She'll also receive 100 copies of her book and $5,000.
Xerox Chairman and Chief Executive Anne M. Mulcahy will make a presentation
to Grosh today at the Print 05 trade show in Chicago.
In an interview, Grosh said she was honored her book was chosen, and excited
that her years of work are starting to pay off.
"It's easy to feel like it's a frivolous hobby that's taking away from
important things," Grosh, 49, said.
On-demand publishing is a fast-growing market with big revenue possibilities
for Xerox and its competitors.
Digital presses such as Xerox's iGen3 help make on-demand publishing
possible by allowing for print runs as small as one book. Most of Lulu.com's
printing is done by ColorCentric Corp., a Rochester printing house, on
Smaller runs are becoming more common in the printing world, according
to Frank Romano, an emeritus professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Romano says about 30 percent of book titles are now printed in quantities
of less than 100, and that could reach 50 percent by 2010.
The contest was designed to help show how easy on-demand publishing
could be. To enter, each author had to upload a manuscript to Lulu.com.
All entrants received a free copy of their book.
More than 250 authors entered, and more than 100,000 pages of unpublished
fiction have been printed so far, Xerox said.
Grosh, a freelance Web site developer who also has worked as a professor at
Syracuse University and Ohio University, said she had been fascinated by reading
and writing since childhood. She published several academic works during her
But taking some classes at Rochester's Writers and Books spurred her
to start writing fiction, and gave shape to Mommyville.
"I had written about a half-dozen short stories, and they started to feel more
like part of one novel," Grosh said.
Mommyville follows Elaine Barlow, a professor who loses a battle
for tenure and becomes a stay-at-home mother to her daughter. Grosh admits
there are autobiographical elements in the book.
"The fun thing is no one knows what's straight from your life," Grosh
The theme struck a chord with judges.
"The book wrestles with the questions modern mothers face about the merits of
professional work versus life spent with children," says contest judge Maureen
Corrigan, National Public Radio's book critic. "It paints a picture of
the trials and tribulations of 21st century motherhood."
Grosh, who is already at work on a second novel, hopes her contest victory
will draw the attention of a traditional publisher.
"It will be easier to get their attention now," she said.
Two contest runners-up will receive 50 copies of their novels. They
- The Long Black Veil, a drama about complicated relationships,
by sisters Jeannine Deline and Bobbi L'Huillier of Rochester.
- Codename Snake: The Evil We Kill, a thriller about an assassin
operating in Nazi Germany, by Morton Rumberg of Gold River, Calif.
All three books can be purchased at www.lulu.com/aspiringauthors.