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.