Winners of the Josie Rubio Scholarship

When writer Josie Rubio died in 2019 at the age of 42, it was clear she’d touched a remarkable number of lives in her too-short life. After her blog, A Pain in the Neck: My Experience with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, won a dedicated readership, her New York Times essay “Dating While Dying,” went viral. A year later, the Times gave her a full editorial obituary and included her in its end-of-year round-up of notable deaths—the only non-celebrity.

Josie also loved writing and writers. During during her last year, she took a Gotham Writers Workshop memoir class, where she excelled at helping others tell their stories and made some very important friendships that lasted long after the course ended.

To honor their friend and fellow writer Josie, her Gotham classmates created a scholarship competition in which entrants submitted a 100-word story in the style of the New York Times Tiny Love Stories.

After reading through scores of love stories, the committee selected — with difficulty—20 winners who each received a tuition-free 10-week Gotham class of their choice. They are all listed below.

For Josie, her love of writing, and the 20, we’re sharing three of the winning stories here.

Summer in the City

Farah de la Puente

“You’re safe,” I say to the two-week-old body in my arms. It is true. We are in my bedroom, ten steps from our door, which is locked, twice, and nine floors above our lobby. There, a masked Albanian doorman stands across the street from a caravan of fifteen parked police cars, each with two masked policemen, enforcing the 8PM curfew. The caravan is three blocks from the Nike on 20th Street and 5th Avenue, where a graffitied wooden board covers its shattered window. “You’re safe,” I say again, this time not a reassurance for me, but a wish for her.

When Leprechauns Were Real

Michael Scott

I met Paul in rehab. Paul was extremely Irish, tiny and mischievous. A receding hairline, leather waistcoat and lumberjack shirt, he just needed a pipe and shamrock to be the perfect Leprechaun in our leper colony. Paul had swallowed the Blarney Stone whole and regaled me with tales of drug runs from Tangier to Amsterdam. He obsessed over his past by cutting and pasting collages of his demons. Grinning politicians leered atop porn star’s bodies. I loved Paul. We were rehab brothers forever. After leaving, we met once. Then Paul disappeared down the wrong kind of pipe and was gone.

Steady Bridges

Georgea Tann

While spinning the square cardboard coaster around on the copper bar top, I say, “If it weren’t for the kids I’d consider separation.”

He says, from behind watery eyes, “What? I can’t believe you think that way.”

My eyes dart back down to the safety of the coaster. “You don’t?”

“No, quitting you never crosses my mind. It’s not an option for me.”

And I remember why I married him. Because when my self-loathing projects itself onto him, and turns his flaws into marital fault lines — his steadiness pulls the cracked earth under my feet back together again.


Stephanie Ariker

Maggie Bokelman

Susan Chase

Farah de la Puente

Seánan Forbes

Stefanie Giglio

Asena Grace

Josie Grieg

Kelly Hoben

Tracy Kennard

Angela Kidd

Ann McNicol

Emily Myers

Joli Nicol Pate

Michael Scott

Georgea Tann

Jacky Tong

Jill Viles

Shelly Walia

Jenny Wilson

The Josie Rubio Scholarship

Ten scholarships will be awarded to ten people in honor of writer Josie Rubio. Josie’s work is immortalized in her popular blog, A Pain in the Neck: My Experience with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Her article, “Dating While Dying” was published in The New York Times before her passing on December 3rd, 2019. When Josie passed, the Times gave her a full obituary and in their end of year notable passings article, she was the only non-celebrity, clearly touching many with her story.

During Josie’s last year, she took a Gotham Writers Workshop memoir class, where excelled at working with others to hone their skills and share stories and made some very important friendships.

Please submit one paragraph of up to 100 words in a format similar to The New York Times Tiny Love Stories–by April 30th. You will be notified by May 31st if you won.

Send submissions to:

-The Josie Rubio Scholarship Award Committee

How To Participate In #PitGotham

#PitGotham is a Twitter “pitch party” following every episode of Inside Writing. If you have a book that is in the genre just covered in that episode, you are welcome to pitch it on Twitter for the chance at feedback from the participating agent. You have until that Friday at 11.59 pm Eastern Time to make your pitches.

Here’s what you should do, as well as some tips and tricks:

  • Condense your book pitch into a single tweet—multiple-tweet pitches are not allowed. (If you have more than one book to pitch, you may pitch them all; just use separate tweets for each.)
  • Come up with a good comparable title or two. For instance, Dear Edward meets Where the Crawdad Sings. (Or, to save space in your tweet—Dear Edward X Where The Crawdad Sings)
  • Focus on what makes your book unique. Usually, that’s the protagonist and the main drive of the plot. “Charlie grew up in poverty, but when the wealthy and eccentric candy mogul Willy Wonka offers a tour of his factory, Charlie sees a chance at a life he’s never had…”
  • End it with a hook, something enticing to leave the agent wanting more. “…Charlie sees a chance at a life he’s never had. And the rewards may be even greater than expected.”
  • Most importantly, include #PitGotham in your tweet. You don’t need to tag anyone. Save that space for pitching your book.