Editor’s note: The Writer’s Workshop series was founded by celebrated authors and Williston parents Madeleine Blais P’00, ’04 and Elinor Lipman P’00 in 1998 as an advanced class for aspiring student writers. As part of the course, which focuses on intense writing and literary criticism, four well-established writers visit campus to give public lectures and offer hands-on instruction with students. The following is the into Ms. Blais gave for author George Colt before his talk on Oct. 7.
It is an honor to welcome the second writer in the 17th year of our Writer’s Workshop Series here at Williston. As many of you know this series was first dreamed up by a fellow writer parent, novelist at Elinor Lipman, and myself. We wanted to do something special for the school and for the students at Williston, but we wanted it to relate to what we love doing in our own lives, writing and supporting other writers. Now this does not mean we didn’t engage in the usual parent volunteer work—how I remember my days as donut mom at the hockey rink—but this idea seemed a better reflection of some aspect of ourselves. When we made the proposal to Denny Griggs, a lovely man at the end of his directorship of the school, he was 100 percent supportive from the get-go, most importantly acceding to our most brazen request that an academic course accompany this series, a workshop for young writers.
As far as I know this is the only course of its kind taught at any independent school in the nation. Plenty of schools teach writing and plenty of schools host guest authors from time to time, but it is rare indeed to build a writing course around a public talk by a visiting writer followed by a visit to the classroom so students who have read his or her work can have a spirited exchange.
Tonight’s author, George Colt, is yet another luminary in our all-star lineup.