A shocking revelation has emerged from the Larson vs. Dorland case files, which could lend insight into a possible toxic and hostile work environment at GrubStreet Writers, and a potential human resources complaint handling scandal, including harassment. The staff member involved is Artistic Director and published author Christopher Castellani.Author Christopher Castellani Vows to Exact Revenge on Fellow Writer and GrubStreet Instructor Click To Tweet
According to Document 107-11 of the Larson vs. Dorland Perry case [Filed 03/15/21], author Christopher Castellani, repped by Janet Silver, Allison Warren, and Sara Leonard of Viking Books, with contact listed at Penguin Random House, sent an email to fellow Chunky Monkeys group members, which included Sonya Larson, on July 23, 2018.
In this email, he is quoted as saying:
My mission in life is going to be to exact revenge on this pestilence of a person [re: Dawn Dorland].Larson vs. Dorland Perry, Document 107-11 [Filed 03/15/21]
A screenshot is attached to this post for both source and proof of said statement.
Christopher Castellani is a published author, and Artistic Director of Grub Street, “the country’s largest and leading independent creative writing center. He is the author of three critically acclaimed novels”. [Virginia Pye, An Interview with Christopher Castellani about his novel Leading Men].
This is an open threat, one that Christopher Castellani has not publicly corrected nor apologized for. As it stands, he intends to make it his life’s mission to exact revenge on fellow author and writer, as well as former staff member, Dawn Dorland.
Does Christopher Castellani have intentions of following through with this alleged threat against Dawn Dorland? The writing community would like to know.
Christopher Castellani is in a position of power at the GrubStreet Writers organization, and can actively suppress their writing careers if he does not “like” them or views them as a threat to his Chunky Monkeys friends/colleagues. This does not strike me, along with a vast majority of the writing community, as an acceptable statement to make regarding another writer, author, and instructor at the GrubStreet Writers organization. Nor should anyone who plans to make it a mission to get revenge against someone be in a position to wield power at an organization designed to help and encourage writers at all stages of their careers.
At play here is an issue of plagiarism. Fellow writer and instructor Dawn Dorland discovered that another GrubStreet writer, Sonya Larson, had plagiarized her words. Dawn took issue with this, attempted to resolve the matter with Sonya (who had no interest), and then was sued by Sonya Larson. Dawn Dorland countersued for copyright infringement, as she is allowed to do under our courts of law. The Chunky Monkeys writers in Boston, including Christopher Castellani, took issue with her exercising her legal rights, leveraging years-long campaigns against her.
Christopher Castellani obviously took issue with this, and joined in with the Chunky Monkeys writers of Boston in an organized campaign to suppress Dawn Dorland, drag her in the social media platforms, and “ice” her out of writing opportunities, positions of writing instruction, and writing conventions.
This behavior is deeply problematic and concerning; that a director of a nonprofit organization would be behaving in this manner, wielding power over writing careers of those he both instructs with and teaches in their classes.Does Penguin Random House condone the Christopher Castellani threat made by their author to another writer? Click To Tweet
GrubStreet board chair Kathy Sherbrooke has indicated in an article on WBUR that the organization “intends to conduct a thorough review of our processes and functions”. She should know that some of the Chunky Monkeys were involved in the investigation of the HR complaint filed by Dawn Dorland, namely, fellow Chunky Monkeys member Alison Murphy, also cited in the court documents as participating in their hate-filled campaign against Dawn Dorland.
I am hopeful that the GrubStreet Writers organization has a moral turpitude clause in their bylaws for staff members, and that they investigate this matter immediately. This behavior is not just unethical, it promotes an unsafe learning environment for writers of all published status. I also hope that Penguin Random House reviews the conduct of Christopher Castellani, and determines whether statements and behaviors such as this are in line with their morals, values, and beliefs.
No apology from Christopher Castellani. Not a single word. He’s just shutting off the world, trying to ride the wave and probably hopes that this will all be swept under the rug soon.