LitFest 2019

LitFest: Marin Academy’s Literary Festival. 

From Pulitzer Prize-winners and United States Poet Laureates to cherished local writers, this two-day gathering celebrates the oral and written word.
Each of the workshops held throughout the course of LitFest will highlight literature beyond what is taught in the classroom. From storytelling to poetry slams, the purpose of this festival is not only to provide entertainment, but to celebrate and emphasize the importance of writing beyond what is required in school. Guests and MA faculty and staff present interactive workshops and students are encouraged to share their own work.


Thursday, February 7 (ABC)

Peter Nachtrieb ‘92 (playwright)
Bio: Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, 6’6”, is a San Francisco-based playwright (and MA grad) whose works include The Making of a Great Moment (Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Z Space 2017), A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry (Z Space 2016), The Totalitarians (NNPN premiere 2014), boom (TCG's most produced play 2009-10), BOB, (2011 Humana Festival for New American Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Barrie and Bernice Stavis Award),  T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common), Hunter Gatherers (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), Colorado, and Litter: The True Story of the Framingham Dodecutuplets. His work has been seen off-Broadway and across the country including at Ars Nova, Woolly Mammoth, SPF, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Southern Rep, Kitchen Dog, and in the Bay Area at Z Space, A.C.T., Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Projects in-process include an original musical called Fall Springs (NAMT festival 2017) with composer/lyricist Niko Tsakalakos, opening at Barrington Stage Company in Summer 2019. Peter holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.  Peter is an alumna of New Dramatists and was the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Z Space in San Francisco 2013-18. He likes to promote himself online at

Workshop: There are many strange ways to write plays.  This will be a fun and intensive exploration of the craft of Playwriting as we explore the various tools the playwright has to create a piece and simultaneously try to bring our more impulsive, intuitive and bizarre creative instincts to the fore.  Embracing the “Yes, And” spirit of improvisation, you will be guided through a series of fun and possibly bizarre exercises exploring a number of different playwriting topics (such as character, language/dialogue, action, scene energy and structure). As we work on craft, we’ll look to see what creative hotspots are emerging within our exercises.  It is the hope of the intensive to be simultaneously an exploration of our voices as well as a pragmatic and practical investigation of craft, and learning how focusing on one can release the other.

Brendan Constantine (poet)
Bio: Brendan Constantine is the author of four collections of poetry. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Poem-a-Day, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly, Ploughshares, and the American Journal of Poetry among other journals.  A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, also appearing on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered,’ numerous podcasts, and YouTube. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, veterans, and people dealing with Aphasia.

Workshop: A generative poetry workshop where participants will craft and discuss ways to create new poems. No experience necessary! Bring a nice, blank mind and be ready to write!

Jarvis Subia (spoken word artist)
Bio: Born and raised in the San José Bay Area, Jarvis Subia's work delves into his relation with his communities, sexuality, masculinity, national/global politics, lineage, race, gardening, mental health, personal growth, love, love, and love.

Jarvis is San José’s 2018 Poetry Grand Slam Champion. He has been a part of 5 national poetry slam teams representing his college and city. His most heartfelt accomplishments are: graduating with a BA from San Francisco State University's Creative Writing program, placing 2nd in the nation for multi-voice poems in 2015 with the Palo Alto slam team, coaching a youth and 2 collegiate poetry slam teams for MACLA in San Jose and SFSU, and participating in the masters writing workshop at the 2017 Las Dos Brujas writers conference. Jarvis is a member of 2017-18 & 2018-19 Youth Speaks’ Emerging Poet Mentors collective, an in-class teaching artist for SFJAZZ’s Jazz In The Middle residency program teaching curriculums on the history of blues, poetry, & diaspora, and is the after-school poetry instructor for the Digital Media & Culture Studio at Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), a contemporary latin arts and community organization based in San José.

Workshop: An Ode is one of the oldest ways to hype up, show affection for, or praise someone/ something. One of my personal favorites is Ariana Browns, "Ode to Thrift Stores." In this workshop, we will be exploring some of the different ways we can develop an Ode and how we can recite it with the same passion we used when penning the poem. Throughout the workshop we will utilize the Youth Speaks golden rules, various writing prompts, community board pallets, and discussing various Slam Poets/Page Poets to build our own Odes. We will then end in a culminating open mic where students will get the chance to voice their newly created poems.

Friday, February 8 (DEFG)

Kim Cope Tait (poet)
Bio: Kim Cope Tait has taught in schools all over the world and in settings ranging from a dropout recovery program to a Swiss boarding school. She has two novels, 'Inertia' and 'Bend the Blue Sky,' as well as a chapbook of poems entitled 'Element.' Kim also wrote and recorded Lotus Wheel: Guided Meditations for Relaxation and Healing. Most recently, her full-length collection of poems 'Shadow Tongue' was published with Finishing Line Press (July 2018). Having lived in Hawaii, Switzerland, New Zealand, Vermont, and Colorado, Kim now lives with her family in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California.

Workshop: The Formalism of Free Verse: Of writing free verse poetry, Robert Frost once said, “I’d just as soon play tennis with the net down.” I beg to differ, as would millions of poets and intellectuals who have walked the planet since. In all fairness to the beloved American poet, it was 1956 when he said this, and free verse was perhaps still evolving. Indeed, it continues to evolve today. So what internal structures exist within this seemingly nebulous shape? And how can we use these as tools not only to craft lyrical poetry but also to create and manipulate meaning? In this workshop, students will have an opportunity to generate raw material, examine the “formalism” that exists within some established free verse poetry, and then apply some of the structural impulses to their own newborn lines.

Lena Felton ‘12 (journalist)
Bio: Lena Felton is a multiplatform editor at The Lily, a publication from The Washington Post aimed at elevating the voices of women. There, she works with freelancers, writes pieces of her own and sends out a newsletter rounding up the biggest women’s news of the week. Previously, she was an editorial fellow on the politics team at The Atlantic, where she broke news about the Trump administration and wrote an essay about her grandfather. She fell in love with journalism at Marin Academy in Mary’s class, and later became co-editor-in-chief of The Voice. She graduated from Harvard in 2017 — where she spent much of her time running The Crimson’s weekly magazine — and has been living in D.C. for the past year and a half.

Workshop: We’ve all heard print journalism is dying. So, then, what will fill the void? Largely, it’ll be what high school students today are so good at: figuring out ways for stories to take shape on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. What people sometimes don’t understand — in an era inundated with claims of “fake news” — is that journalistic excellence is more crucial now than ever. In this workshop, we’ll chart how traditional journalism has been reimagined for the digital age, and learn what it takes to tell important stories on various platforms.

Maia Kobabe (graphic novelist)
Bio: Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator with an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts. Eir first full-length book, GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR is forthcoming from Lion Forge in May 2019. Eir work focuses on themes of identity, sexuality, anti-fascism, fairy tales, and homesickness. Maia's work can be found on tumblr and instagram @redgoldsparks and

Workshop: A hands-on introduction to making comics. Students will start with warm-up sketching exercises, draw comics from story prompts, and move into writing and illustrating some of their own ideas. If time allows, we will also learn how to make a quick, single page zine.

Alyssa Aninag (short story writer)
Bio: Alyssa Aninag is a short story writer. She is currently working on a novel-in-stories that challenges the reader to consider how children internalize class, race, and gender dynamics. Aninag's work explores the landscape of growing up, how our earliest moments and bonds have informed who we are, and how toughness and tenderness can mold and push us towards a future we can only imagine. One of her stories was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. For many years, Aninag supported young creative writers at the beloved San Francisco based writing center 826 Valencia. Currently, she teaches literature and creative writing to high schoolers in Oakland and is also teaches at the University of San Francisco.

Workshop: Together we will explore the collaborative and composite spirit of writing. We will first examine Sandra Cisneros' "My Name".  We will then generate our own writing, individually and collectively, pulling from our own lived experiences about the story of our own name. Together we will carve space to write and reflect on the part of our identity we're deeply tied to—our given name, nicknames, surnames, the names we're given but dislike. In this interactive workshop, we'll share and critique our work with one another by using the writing we craft as a point of connection.