The four professionals that make up the 2016 Williston Writers’ Workshop Series arrive with divergent backgrounds but share two common threads: an intimate connection to the written word and a successful relationship with the creative process.
This is the 19th year Williston Northampton School has hosted the popular series—conceived by authors Madeleine Blais P ’00, ’04 and Elinor Lipman P ’00—in which writers and creative professionals give a talk during a public forum, then teach a master class to students who have prepared for the visit by studying the presenter’s work. The forums begin at 7 p.m. and are held at various locations on campus.
The series kicks off on Oct. 3 with Keri Smith, a bestselling author, illustrator, and thinker. Her books include Wreck This Journal, This is Not a Book, How to Be an Explorer of the World, Mess, Finish This Book, The Pocket Scavenger, Wreck This Journal Everywhere, Everything Is Connected, The Imaginary World of… as well as Wreck This App, This is Not an App, and the Pocket Scavenger app. She recently was featured in a TIME magazine article titled, “Meet the Woman Trying to Save Your Kids from Their Screens.” This forum will be held in the Whitaker-Bement Center Assembly Room.
Laura Tillman joins us on Oct. 10 in the Dodge Room of Reed Campus Center. Tillman is an award-winning journalist and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and Pacific Standard, among other publications. Originally from Maplewood, N.J., she began her career at The Brownsville Herald in South Texas. The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, an investigation into three horrendous murders in Brownsville—and a meditation on the human forces that drove them—is her first book.
On Nov. 7, Steve Bloom speaks at the Williston Theatre. A screenwriter for television and movies for more than 30 years, Bloom attended Brown University and the graduate film production program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Among his produced credits are the films The Sure Thing, Tall Tale, and James and the Giant Peach. The Stand-In, due in bookstores Oct. 1, is his first novel.
Closing out the series on Jan. 23 is Andy Ward, editor in chief at Random House, whose booklist includes Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham and the recent New York Times Bestseller, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Before coming to the world of books in 2009, he spent almost 15 years as an editor in magazines, first at Esquire, then at GQ. Ward’s talk will be held in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center.
English Teacher Lori Pelliccia coordinates the series and leads the Writers’ Workshop honors-level English class that examines the work of the visiting presenters.
“Last year, the students in Writers’ Workshop referred back to the advice they received from the visiting authors time and time again,” she said. “I know this year will be no different. Each speaker’s unique experiences and talents will surely inspire our student writers as they explore and develop their craft.”