Melissa Grunow

Melissa Grunow (CNF) | Detroit, MI

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Melissa Grunow is the author of I Don’t Belong Here: Essays (forthcoming from New Meridian Arts Press, 2018) and Realizing River City: A Memoir (Tumbleweed Books, 2016) which won Second Place-Nonfiction in the 2016 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards and the Silver Medal in Nonfiction-Memoir from Readers’ Favorite International Book Contest. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, The Nervous Breakdown, Two Hawks Quarterly, New Plains Review, and Blue Lyra Review, among many others. Her essays have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and listed in the Best American Essays 2016 notables. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction with distinction from National University. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @melgrunow.


I Don’t Belong Here: Essays (New Meridian Arts Press, 2018). Essays. CNF.
Realizing River City: A Memoir (Tumbleweed Books, 2016). CNF. Memoir.

Blurbs, Press, & Reviews

“The greatest challenge for a writer is to appear emotionally naked on the page and make that seem completely natural. Melissa Grunow does this with audacity, aplomb, and grace. Grunow illuminates 21st century issues regarding sex, body image, emotional stability, and self-realization with a fearlessness that few others can match. This is a book whose moment in history is exactly now.”
–Sue William Silverman, author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew

“In these wise essays, Melissa Grunow brings to light the hidden, the forgotten, and the discarded days. Her agile sentences and fearless gaze reveal insights that reach past easy epiphany and toward a rare clarity that is a searching delight to read.” 
–Sonya Huber, author of Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, and Other Essays from a Nervous System

“Melissa Grunow’s I Don’t Belong Here is a collection of deeply insightful, personal essays written with both a clear eye and a canny pen. Artfully written, the essays do almost all of the things an essay can do–there is, in the pages of this book, a master class on formalism in creative nonfiction. All of that art is brought to bear on Grunow’s unsugared understanding of her life and her experiences; an understanding that is often difficult but never uncomfortable. Like all good literature, it leaves the reader with a greater understanding of what it means to be human.”
–Sarah Einstein, author of Mot: A Memoir

“Melissa Grunow’s prose is a dazzling display of pathos, humor and everything in-between—like life itself. Landing somewhere between Sloane Crosley and Megan Stielstra—with a dash of David Sedaris—Grunow is a bold new voice for our time and to be savored by all. We can all see slivers of ourselves in varying degrees throughout these pages. For better and for worse.”
–R.J. Fox, author of Awaiting Identification

A deeply rich meditation on what it means to be a woman in a sometimes uncertain and complicated world, in relationship to men, but ultimately, and more importantly, to oneself. Melissa Grunow’s Realizing River City raises just as many questions as it answers, circling back always, in beautiful prose and a clear, honest voice, to what it means to be alive, to love, and to be present for all of it.
—Amina Cain, author of Creature and I Go to Some Hollow

Empowering. Beautiful. Brave. These three words are the epitome of Melissa Grunow’s Realizing River City. Traversing through personal transformations, the strength that lives within her memoir stems from Grunow’s fresh writing and unrelenting honesty. She doesn’t hold back when showing us the complexities of what it means and what it looks like to become an independent woman. This is a book about liberation. This is a book about revolution. This is a book that will live in your body long after you have finished it, a book that will embolden your life, always.
—Chelsey Clammer, author of BodyHome

Realizing River City is the compelling story of Melissa Grunow’s search for love with all the wrong men. It’s a story about loss, love, compassion, and finally redemption, as Grunow learns to stand on her own, embrace life’s messiness, and forge ahead full of hope for the future. I was cheering for her as I turned the final pages!
—Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air and Use Your Words

In her memoir Realizing River City, Melissa Grunow shares with honesty and clarity the often-precarious landscape of love, loss, and longing. Her book offers readers vibrant details of New Mexico and an intimate glimpse into a woman’s persistent search for acceptance and positive relationships.
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Crafting the Personal Essay

Melissa Grunow has written an intimate exploration of need, desire, doubt, and survival; her memoir is remarkable for its heart-breaking honesty.
—Robert Root, author of Happenstance and Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place

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