The next deadline for submission
of a grant application is June 15, 2018.






Soapstone: Celebrating Women Writers

Soapstone provides grants to support ad hoc events and short-term study groups that introduce or offer the opportunity to delve into the work of women writers. All events and study groups are open to the public. Events are free of charge; there is a small fee for study groups, with scholarships available.

Small Grants to Support Events and Study Groups

The application process is simple and the time between applying and notification short.

Click here for general information about the grants.
Click here for information about applying for an event grant.
Click here for information about applying for a study group grant.

Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter announcing upcoming study groups.

Upcoming study groups:

Reading Susan Glaspell, led by Gay Monteverde
Three Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
May 12, 19, 26
ArtSpace Room, TaborSpace, 55th & SE Belmont

Reading Virginia Woolf's Nonfiction, led by Judith Barrington
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
September 15, 22, 29 and October 6
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark

Reading Grace Paley's Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry, led by Natalie Serber
Four Saturday mornings, 10:30 to 1:30
October 20, 27, November 3 and 10
Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark

The fee is $60; scholarships are available. The group is limited to 16. To register, send an email to, and a check made out to Soapstone, 622 SE 29th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214.


Reading Susan Glaspell, led by Gay Monteverde

What does a woman born in 1876 have to say to us today about freedom of speech, domestic violence, psychotherapy, gender roles, racism, birth control, technology, political systems, pacifism, social reform, and the disconnect between Midwest and coastal values?  

Quite a lot, actually.

Susan Glaspell wrote fourteen novels, a biography of her husband, and dozens of short stories, essays and articles. But her primary contribution to American literature was on the stage. She co-founded, then directed, acted in, and wrote fifteen plays for the Provincetown Players, America’s first modern theater company, working alongside such then-unknowns as Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Djuna Barnes, William Carlos Williams, and John Reed.  

Although a well known writer during her life, Glaspell's reputation and her works nearly disappeared after she died. Like Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Zora Neale Hurston, Glaspell was resurrected in the 1970s, thanks to the feminist movement.  And her fame rested on a single work.  In Glaspell's case, that was a one-act play called “Trifles.”  

We will read “Trifles” (aloud, as it was meant to be experienced), as well as her short story spinoff “A Jury of Her Peers.”  But we will save this for last, like dessert.  Before that, we will read several less familiar Glaspell one-acts to get a sense of the range of her interests: “Suppressed Desires,” “Close the Book,” “The People,” and “Tickless Time.”  Then we will read one of her full-length plays: Inheritors, which touches on so many contemporary themes that the ride can be a bit dizzying. All these works are available online without charge.

I was first introduced to Glaspell when I taught high school English in Alaska 40 years ago. I stumbled on 'Trifles' in a textbook. It is perhaps the most beautifully written modern play I've ever read: tight, deep, clear. And fourteen-year-olds did not have to struggle to understand it. As I began to write plays myself, I realized how challenging it is to put forth a point of view without standing on a soap box, but rather embedding ideas in story, character, imagery. Glaspell sometimes falters, but she deserves to be known as 'the mother of American theater.' She claimed space for the women playwrights who followed--from Lillian Hellman to Lynn Nottage.

This discussion group is for those for whom Glaspell is a beacon in the darkness, who have valued and wrangled with her over the years. But I especially encourage those who have never read Glaspell (or never read beyond “Trifles”) to participate. 

Gay Monteverde is a playwright who has been teaching writing of all sorts (except poetry) for forty-one years.  Her first play, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, was a finalist for the National Alliance of Theater & Education’s New Works Award and is in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  Her second play, an adaptation of Persian folk tales, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Drama and has had dozens of productions in the United States and Australia.  Both plays are published by Playscripts, Inc. in New York City. Her third play is currently looking for an interested theater company, and she is writing a fourth.


To be notified about these programs and those of many other literary organizations, sign up for ou bi-weekly community email announcements that come out every other week with information about readings, workshops and opportunities for readers and writers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

To be notified only about the study groups, sign up for our monthly study group email announcements.

For a complete list of grants awarded, please click here to see or download a PDF