Michael McGrinder

Publisher info

Michael McGrinder grew up in the South Bronx, New York City. He spent his early twenties in England where he was part of a vital poetry scene and acquired a taste for and an interest in theatre.

Returning to New York, he lived on the Lower East Side and quickly became involved in the developing Off-Off-Broadway scene, so new at the time it was generally referred to as café theatre.

His first production, a double-bill of one-act plays, was given life at The Playwrights Workshop. He then began showing his work at the legendary Old Reliable Theatre Tavern, located in the funky back room of a Polish bar in a dangerous section of the East Village. “It’s easy to find. Just turn left at the burning automobile,” and “No wonder we get such good crowds. Everyone’s afraid to come here alone.” His plays were also produced at such leading theaters as La Mama, Bastiano’s Cellar, The Playbox Studio and at The Library Theatre of Lincoln Center.

He published Proscenium, a newsletter which The Village Voice described as “Off-Off talking to itself.” He also hosted a weekly cable TV show of the same name presenting excerpts from Off-Off shows and interviews with the production’s writer, director and actors. The show was later rechristened Michael McGrinder Presents to allow for an expanded format.

Along with artists Judy Pendleton and Helen Lau, he was a founding member of Artists Rights Association, an organization devoted to securing reproduction rights and royalties for artists as well as encouraging artists to use copyright symbols on their work.

Michael McGrinder’s plays have been published by The Smith, Breakthrough Press and Dramatics Magazine and by And/Or Books.

His concern for the preservation of vital plays from the early years of Off-Off-Broadway led to his founding The Old Reliable Press, online as oldreliableprss.com.

He has several projects in the works and has a growing list of books available through Amazon Barnes & Noble, Smashwords.com and many other online booksellers.

Smashwords Interview

What are you working on next?
I'm always far in front of myself. I had the good fortune to be involved with Off-Off-Broadway in its early days, now referred to as Off-Off's Golden Years. I'm writing a book about my involvement in that time. I also have a lengthy novel I return to from time to time. I wrote, directed, produced, published a newsletter and hosted one of the first public access shows. i also reviewed restaurants for the impecunious community and contributed to a news and gossip column.

I have an extensive backlog of work, so I'm preparing for publication a mystery novel The No Name Murders set largely in Greenwich Village, a novella Mary about the mother of Jesus as a human being, a short story collection (maybe two), a collection of essays and a couple of plays.

I also publish plays from early Off-Off under the aegis of The Old Reliable Press, so I'll be bringing out the works of others. And of course I have some new poems in the works, probably another book of poetry.
What is your writing process?
Writing comes easy to me (once I actually sit down). Making it look easy is hard work, so I rewrite a great deal.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Michael McGrinder online

Where to buy in print

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The Bundle Man
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,870. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2018 by Michael McGrinder. Categories: Plays » Women Authors, Plays » American / African American
Self-described as “a loving parody of Theatre of the Absurd” and its references to that genre are clear without being obvious.
Up By Wednesday
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,510. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2017 by Michael McGrinder. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » American / African American
Four one-act plays from early Off-Off-Broadway's golden age by the era's most prolific playwright.


A Mystical Trio
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,540. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Religious, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Three beautifully crafted short stories, each from a mystical perspective.
We Hate To See You Go
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,270. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2018. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » Religious & Liturgical
An Irish wake. A reluctant corpse. A few drinks. A few laughs. A few tears. Some bickering. Some fighting. An Irish wake.
A Wounded God: A Poem of Ideas Spiritual and Practical
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 2,060. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Religious philosophy, Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
A beautiful longer poem—a work of remarkable spiritual power with a practical call to action.
The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,360. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Michael McGrinder tells Isobel Gowdie, The Witch Queen of Scotland’s story on a grand canvas spanning a period of 17 years. This full-length play is not for the prudish nor for the faint-hearted, but neither is it for those without a sense of humor or deep compassion. It is for those who like a good story well-told and for those especially who enjoy a love story and who appreciate great theatre!
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 18,650. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical, Fiction » Historical » General
The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Contrary to some recent depictions of her, Mary is presented here as a loving, gentle woman who happened to be the mother of the most famous person in history. The story of Jesus' nativity is honored, but so is the fact that Mary was the mother of several children as started in gospels canonical and apocryphal.
Snow Business
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 860. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
Here's a little play that's as light as a snowflake. A cranky boss experiences the miracle of his first snowfall. A charmer that can be performed without a set, and the only prop needed is a flash camera. (The author won't mind if that's mimed.)
The Share: A Monologue
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,950. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American
In the guise of an AA share, performed as an audition piece. Humorous and heart-wrenching by a playwright whose hallmark is compassion.
The Foreigners
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,920. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American
Cited by Other Stages as “One of Off-Off’s Best” Two people meet at a bus stop, neither able to speak the other’s language or the language of their new country, fall in love and live an entire life cycle. Or do they?
Poet's Model
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,810. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Contemporary American poetry spanning more than half a century, covering a wide range of subjects and moods. Depth, originality and perceptive insights are pervasive throughout the collection. Read these poems quietly to yourself, or aloud to another person, or to a room filled with people. Michael McGrinder is also a playwright: a deeply compassionate writer who entertains, even through pain.

Michael McGrinder's tag cloud

3minute play    aa    alcoholics anonymous    allen ginsberg    american drama    american poetry    angels    annunciation    art    audition    baseball    blessed mother    blessed virgin    boss    bus stop    business    catholic    celibacy    children    comedy    communication    contemporary poetry    crucifixion    drunkenness    early off off broadway    early offfoffbroadway    early offoffbroadway    ellen stewart    family    funeral    funeral home    god    grief    healing poetry    healing wounds    holy family    humor    irish    irish american    irish catholic    isobel gowdie    jesus    la mama    light comedy    love    love and sex    love story    magi    marriage    monologue    mother of jesus    mother theresa    mourners    nativity    nondenominational    norman speedy hartman    nuns    one act play    oneact    parody    plays from the 60s    playwrights workshop    poetry    precellphones    relapse    romance    scotland    snow    sobriety    spiritual    spiritual book    spiritual call    spiritual work    spirituality    st joseph    sunset    the devil    the old reliable theatre tavern    theatre of the absurd    thinking    tony bastiano    verse drama    wake    witch    witch burnings    witch queen of scotland    witch torture    witch trials    witches    witches sabbat    women authors   

Smashwords book reviews by Michael McGrinder

  • Write To Remember on Aug. 02, 2014

    Grandfather's Uncle is a delightful story, and Phil McQuillan can be happy that he has accomplished his purpose, i.e. making sure his dad is remembered for the guy he was. We're asked to recall our own family members, and I had a moment of resonance when I read that Big Phil's mom wrangled a family of twelve. My own mother was the oldest of twelve in Ireland, and was the only girl. Every time her mother had a baby she was pulled out of school to take care of the family. I learned to take a punch from her. A little too often. It was nice to meet Big Phil and the rest of the McQuillan family. Nice work.