Literary Festival

This student-planned and student-led festival happens the first week in January. Students arrange for a panel of writers, including authors, journalists, songwriters, and poets, to spend the day at St. Mark’s attending English classes, discussing their careers as an author. The visiting authors judge a writing contest and award prizes at the Upper School assembly following a panel discussion. 

2019 Literary Festival Guests

List of 5 items.

  • Amanda Petrusich

    • Lives in New York, New York, and was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” by Brooklyn Magazine
    • Staff writer for The New Yorker, focusing on topics related to music in America
    • Author of 3 books: Pink Moon, It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music, and Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records
    • Currently a professor at NYU, where her courses infuse writing and music
  • Joaquin Zihuatanejo

    • Lives in Dallas, Texas
    • Author, teacher, and award-winning poet, noted for capturing Chicano culture in his poetry
    • Author of award-winning poetry collection Of Fire and Rain, a “testimony of life” about life in the barrios
    • Won third place for his performance at National Poetry Slam Competition in 2004 and subsequently appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam in 2005
  • Karl Marlantes

    • Lives in Woodinville, Washington
    • Author of Matterhorn, “one of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam”
    • Winner of the James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction and the William E. Colby Military Writers' Award
    • Decorated Vietnam Marine Corps veteran, having received the Navy Cross, Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals for his service
    • Vietnam veteran who appeared on Ken Burns’ critically acclaimed PBS documentary series The Vietnam War
  • Kimberly Willis Holt

    • Lives in Fort Worth, Texas
    • Author of My Louisiana Sky, which was adopted into a film in 2001, and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, which was adopted into a film by the same name in 2003 and which won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature
    • Author of The Water Seeker, which received the Yalsa Best Fiction for Young Adults award and made the New York Public Library List of Best 100 Books of 2010
  • Montgomery Sutton ’05

    • From Dallas, Texas
    • Appeared in numerous productions while attending St. Mark’s
    • Now an actor, director and playwright
    • Well known for his roles in plays such as King Lear and Love’s Labours Lost
    • Honored as Top Male Acting Performance at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival
    • Critically acclaimed for his roles in the movies Trouble with Women, a romantic comedy, and Brute, a crime drama

Past Guests (since 2013)

Stacy Clark ~ Children’s author
Billy Crockett ~ Singer-songwriter
Evan Daugherty ’00 ~ Film screenwriter (Divergent, Snow White and the Hunstman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tony Earley ~ Fiction writer, essayist, and Vanderbilt University professor
Dana Goodyear ~ Poet, University of Southern California professor, and staff writer for The New Yorker
Mike Wilson ~ Editor of The Dallas Morning News

Taylor Mali ~ Four-time National Poetry Slam champion
Tobias Wolff Bestselling author of This Boy’s Life and Old School
Jake McAuley ’08 ~ France-based reporter for The Washington Post and founder of the St. Mark's Literary Festival
Eliza Griswold ~ Poet and award-winning investigative journalist
Dianna Hutts Aston ~ Award-winning children’s author and illustrator


Ana Castillo ~ Chicana Novelist, Poet, and Playwright
Kurt Eichenwald ’79 ~ Bestselling Investigative Journalist
Lisa Loeb ~ Grammy-nominated Singer-Songwriter 
Hampton Sides ~ Bestselling Narrative Nonfiction Author
Graeme Wood ’97 Journalist and The Atlantic Contributing Editor

Blake Bailey ~ Biographer
Ed Mabrey ~ Poet
Ann Napolitano ~ Novelist
Annu Subramanian ~ Human-rights Advocate and Novelist 
Robert Zorn ’75 ~ Non-Fiction Author

Ron Koertge ~ Young Adult Novelist and Poet
Jill Sobule ~ Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter
Jim Holt ~ Mathematician and Nonfiction Contributor to The New Yorker
Lev Grossman ~ Author of The Magicians and TIME Magazine writer
Evan Daugherty ’00 ~ Film screenwriter (Divergent, Snow White and the Hunstman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Billy Collins ~ Former U.S. Poet Laureate
Curtis Sittenfeld ~ Novelist
Marion Winik ~ Author and NPR commentaror
Sid Balman ’76 ~ Journalist and Author

St. Mark's School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230


About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.