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. 

2020 Literary Festival Guests

List of 4 items.

  • Sandra Cisneros

    Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, Essayist, Performer, and Artist

    • Dual citizen of Mexico and America, now resides in San Miguel De Allende, Guanajuato
    • Accolades include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Fairfax Prize, and the National Medal of the Arts awarded by President Obama
    • Author of The House on Mango Street, a classic coming-of-age novel that has sold over six million copies and has been translated into more than twenty languages
    • Author of Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, the novel Caramelo and the memoir A House of My Own
    Founder of the Maondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros de Moral Foundation
    • Organizer of Los MacArturos, a group of MacArthur fellows who serve as community activists
  • Dawn Davies


    • Author of Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
    • Winner of The Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction
    • Winner of the GLCA New Writers Award for Nonfiction
    • Essays, stories, and poetry found in McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Missouri Review, Narrative, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere and have been Pushcart Special Mentions and Best American Notables
    • Lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Sharan Shetty ’09


    • St. Mark’s graduate (Class of 2009)
    • Lives in New York City
    • Received a B.A. in Law, Letters, and Society from the University Chicago
    • Associate editor of The New Yorker
    • Former cultural writer for Slate Magazine
    • Has written articles on a variety of topics including entertainment, sports, and music
  • Fred Turner


    • From Northamptonshire, England, now lives in Dallas, Texas
    B.A., M.A., and B.Litt. in English Language and Literature from Oxford
    • Author of over 30 books, including two science-fiction verse epics: The New World and Genesis
    • Author of Paradise: Selected Poems 1990 – 2003
    Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at UTD
    • Winner of multiple awards and prizes, including the Milan Fust Prize (Hungary’s highest literary honor) and the Levinson Poetry Prize (Poetry Magazine’s most acclaimed award)
    • Acclaimed for blending the arts and humanities with science and technology
    • Founding member of the Expansive Poetry movement

Past Guests (since 2013)

Karl Marlantes ~
Author (Matterhorn)
Kimberly Willis Holt ~
Author (When Zachary Beaver Came to Town)
Amanda Petrusich ~
Journalist and Author
Joaquin Zihuatanejo ~
Montgomery Sutton ’05 ~
Playwright and Stage Actor

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.