Maureen Grady is author of two books of poetry: Unpack My Heart With Words (2015), and Land of Dream and Dreamer, Poems of Ireland (2019). Maureen is a writer, teacher, actor, producer, and private writing coach. She has taught British and Irish Literature, Shakespeare, and Creative Writing for many years. Her private creative writing conservatory has nurtured many young women writers. Maureen was fortunate to have John L'Heureux as a mentor at Stanford, and studied with Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland. She has won two teaching prizes: the student-nominated "One of LA’s Most Inspiring Teachers", and a national recognition for teaching Creative Writing from Scholastic Books given at Carnegie Hall by Tony Kushner.
Maureen is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in Literature, minor in History/Art History. She also has a Masters in Theatre.
Coaching & Tutoring
20 Years Experience
WRITING COACH AND ESSAY TUTOR
After years of teaching literature and creative writing, I have chosen to concentrate my energies on private writing coach work, the college application and essay coaching work, which includes IB students and international applications. It was a natural fit, having taught seniors for years, establishing a creative writing conservatory for high school students, and having lived abroad at various times in Ireland, England, France, and Italy. I work both in person and virtually with students from all over the world. I deeply understand this chapter in a young person’s life —though fraught with stress, it is rich and self-defining — just on the cusp of adulthood. I consider it a privilege to work with students at this profound time.
Aside from the college application and essay process, I coach writers of all sorts. For years I have worked on, edited, proofed, titled, shaped, and advised on plays, screenplays, novels, short stories, and poetry of colleagues, students, former students and writers who have come to me through the suggestion and experience of others. I love this work.
"As a parent of two of Maureen's clients, I can only say: she is the solution. The solution to your college application worries. I remember that time as an extremely stressful one, until Maureen. She came in, gave great advice, guided my two girls through the all-important essay process, discussed the perfect colleges for their particular interests. Her knowledge of what colleges have to offer is extensive, astounding. She made out schedules that were doable when we were daunted. She executed everything with humor and wit. My girls fell in love with her in the process and got into their first choices, both of them. I was asked by Maureen not to mention where, so I guess I won't. I will say that at the admit reception for Stanford the head of admissions for our region came up to me and said my daughter's essay was sent to every admissions office as an example of the gold standard. And as someone who has been through this twice, I know the essay can make the difference; it is maybe the most important tool you have to differentiate and present yourself. Do not hesitate to involve Maureen and let her help."
"I am the proud parent of two students both of whom Maureen Grady guided through the arduous process of their college essays. With her help, they were able to articulate who they were as people and not just list their accomplishments and charity work. They were both accepted to their colleges of choice- one for theatre and one for computer science/business. I have personally recommended Maureen to many young college hopefuls and 100% of them have been grateful for her assistance."
"Maureen helped my daughter who had no idea where she wanted to go, but knew she needed a program that offered scholarships and wanted it in New York City. Her essay topic was particularly daunting for her. It was there that Maureen was instrumental in helping her bring forth her own great piece of writing. She was later accepted into her desired college which awarded her a great scholarship. I’ve no doubt this was due to working with Maureen."
"Having a son who is very stubborn and not well-organized presented a challenge where other consultants had failed. Maureen came up with ideas he’d not even thought of and mapped out a game plan for the application process to top level schools for his field - psychology. She was really effective in shaping his essay to reflect his non-academic credentials. As he’d struggled in school and missed a lot of work, she was able to incorporate this non- academic, but meaningful, life experience in a way that made the application both true and interesting. Thank you, Maureen Grady, for a marvelous life experience as well as being so practical."
"With her endless energy, insightful comments and suggestions, vast experience, incredible dedication, and her unwavering and contagious faith in my abilities, I was able to do my best writing, which ultimately helped guarantee my acceptance into Stanford.
Maureen is a MUST for any high school student going through the college application process because she will push you to reach the apex of your abilities. Plus, she is truly fun and hilarious and she will keep you engaged and entertained with her stories and never-ending litany of knowledge."
"Maureen Grady has been an inspiration ever since we first started working together, as both creative writing teacher and private college counselor and essay coach. She has been a critical agent to helping me find my voice as a creative writer. She helped me take my college essay/personal statement and develop it into a meaningful and illustrative piece of writing. Truly a gifted teacher."
"Working on my college essays with Maureen was both an enjoyable and an inspiring process: she shines a light on parts of yourself you may not have previously considered extraordinary but which, once revealed, draws out genuine writing and possibly even a changed conception of your own self. As a student who applied to both US and European universities, I would recommend working with her for any type of college essay, from the Common App, to college specific supplements, to UK and European formats such as UCAS."
"Maureen helped me hone my college essay topic, while simultaneously encouraging me to confront the significance of my personal experiences and trauma."
"Maureen helped me find both my voice and my confidence in what I was trying to say. She really believes in the writer in each of us and it shows in her encouragement and results."
"Maureen was a great help getting me into college. She had me start in the summer so by the time school started and my classmates were stressed, I was already done. I applied to 15 colleges and thanks to Maureen’s help I was accepted into 12. She pushed me to write college essays that felt true to who I was as a person. She worked hard to make sure that my application showed my best and most honest self. The application reviewers knew exactly who they were getting.And she knew which schools would suit me, and only recommended the best."
"There is no way I could have gone through this process without her. She took away the stress, made it actually fun and exciting, and I got into many of my colleges, some that she had suggested."
"Maureen knows how to intuit a topic that is right for you, something you must write, a theme living inside you, and how to put yourself into 650 words. Or, for the UCs, four short essays."
"Maureen was great at keeping me on schedule for my MFA grad school applications. She was that critical eye that I needed in editing my manuscript and essays, making sure that I was showing my best and strongest work."
"Editing my Masters thesis, Maureen Grady brought more clarity and focus to several sections, and tracked my argument throughout, while proofreading for logic, grammar and spelling of course. She was a joy to work with."
"Editing my PhD thesis, Maureen was fast but thorough, focusing on everything from spelling and grammar to clarity, consistency and presentation. She clearly understood the expectations of academic writing as they pertained to a doctoral thesis. Her editing definitely improved, but did not seek to alter, my own style of writing."
BA in English Literature,
minor in History/Art History
I loved the experience of Stanford in countless ways. The professors, the campus, the student body, the vitality, the possibilities. I was deeply fortunate to have John L'Heureux (English Department, Stegner Creative Writing Program) as advisor, mentor, and lifelong friend. I also minored in history and art history. I spent a year abroad at Stanford-in-Florence, studying art history, European history, and Italian. At the Stanford-Oxford exchange program, I studied literature and creative writing.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAYHOUSE, NYC
MA in Theatre
I am a graduate of the two year intensive MA program in acting. Classes in Acting, Ballet, Modern, Character, Jazz, Fencing, Scene Study, and Musical Theatre filled our days During those years, our class was fortunate to have had the legendary Sanford Meisner everpresent as a teacher. William Alderson and Richard Pinter--also powerful teachers of acting -- shaped our training and experience.
land of dream and dreamer; poems of ireland
Maureen Grady's poems cleave to Ireland's great library legacy from Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and Eavan Boland to the modernist voices of poets like Paula Meehan and Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin. Perhaps, finally, it is in her vision that makes her poems rise to a level of such clarity and emotional power, emanating from a life lived both at the center and on the edges of longing, heartbreak, and redemptive exhilaration. Fall deeply into her words and you will rise glistening into the illuminations of your own embraceable spirit.
Jack Grapes, THE LAST OF THE OUTSIDERS, Collected Poems
Maureen Grady’s poems embody an uncompromising strength of passion and spirit. Whether they dream of Kathleen Ni Houlihan or Dublin’s Abbey theatre, or a step-dance amid men from the “glan”, her lines rise up from the land, like heartbeats, enriched by the gifts of a generous heart, full of triumphant empathy and joy. There is pure peace in her imagery, a down earthiness, as though her lines were chants of reverence for a past, dreamed and sung like luminous incantations to the Irish spirit, seared into the mindscape of our collective memories.
James Ragan, The Hunger Wall and Too Long A Solitude
unpack my heart with words
From the first poem to the last one, you will find yourself in the thrall of this poet’s poet, who conjures from her Irish roots the song of the holy well. Maureen Grady opened my heart and packed it with such beautiful words, that I found myself crying after almost every poem. The exquisite poetry in this collection of exquisite poems will comfort you on your life’s journey toward home. If you read one book of poems this year, make this the one. Wherever you travel, the poems in this book will be your passport to life’s abundant sorrows and blessings.
Jack Grapes, The Naked Eye and All the Sad Angels
Like an altar of burning candles, Maureen Grady’s poems call to us. In quiet, elegant language, Grady writes about love, loss, and redemption; her memorials for a lost newborn brother, childhood friend, parent, or lover anchor us in the tangibly sensual. A plate of lemons, a single purple hyacinth, a half-yard of lavender fabric seem tokens of a lost world. This poet’s sensitive vision renders the commonplace as extraordinary, even sacred. What if we, too, began to feel as deeply as she? “The lost light shapes us,/and we are wreathed by it,” she writes. In Grady’s poetic offerings, we encounter what is beloved to us all, and find ourselves wreathed by her special light.
Lisa C. Krueger, Rebloom, animals the size of dreams,