On Friday, January 8, St. Mark’s welcomed five distinguished writers to campus for the ninth annual Literary Festival. This year’s guests included journalist and The Atlantic contributing editor Graeme Wood ’97; Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb; bestselling investigative journalist and St. Mark’s Distinguished Alumnus Kurt Eichenwald ’79; bestselling narrative nonfiction author Hampton Sides; and Chicana novelist, poet, and playwright Ana Castillo.
Lisa Loeb began the Festival with a concert on Thursday, where she performed songs from her more than two-decade career, including the number one hit “Stay.” On Friday, the five writers spent time in classrooms, sharing their stories and answering questions with Upper School students. The writers came together for a panel discussion during Upper School assembly, answering questions from Literary Festival Co-Chairs, Gopal Raman ’17 & Davis Bailey ’16. Community members can log in
to their St. Mark’s account to watch a video of the panel.
When asked to give advice to young authors, the panel conveyed the need to read as much as possible and to spend time developing the art of writing.
“Your quest is to find your own voice, your own style, and your own sensibility,” said Hampton Sides. “Figure out who you are and what you like.”
Kurt Eichenwald ’79 echoed Hampton’s advice, adding, “Everybody can write. Writers re-write.”
The Literary Festival ended with a special reception in the Green Library where the co-chairs announced the winners of the annual writing contest. Numerous student entries in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry were judged by a panel of Upper School teachers and the five visiting writers.
Congratulations to these winning authors:
1st: “The Takedown” by Eric Martin ’19
2nd: “Feathers in the Air” by Kevin He ’16
3rd: “String-Wielder” by Noah Koecher ’16
1st: “Deceptive Unity” by Patrick Magee ’17
2nd: “Infamous Innovator” by Patrick Magee ’17
3rd: “Becoming a Man” by Zachary Naidu ’16
1st: “Portrait of My Thoughts” by Rahul Maganti ’17
2nd: “Koanic Rhapsody” by Patrick Magee ’17
3rd: “Flickering Light” by Sahit Dendekuri ’19