Literary Festival 2017: Word Riot

Marin Academy’s Literary Festival, affectionately known as LitFest, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. 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 story telling 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.

Keynote Speaker

Micah Fitzerman-Blue is a writer and supervising producer on the Emmy and Golden Globe winning series Transparent. Micah has written feature films for Disney, Fox, and Universal, and he is currently writing the first authorized biopic of Mister Rogers. He graduated from Harvard University where he studied History and Literature.


Thursday, February 9

Keynote Speaker: Micah Fitzerman-Blue
11:10 a.m. in the Athletic Center

All other sessions will take place in either the Library Classrooms or Black Box Theater

Micah Fitzerman-Blue (keynote)
Session: Have you ever wanted to know how a group of writers work together to write a tv show? Micah Fitzerman-Blue will show you how. We'll explore techniques and industry secrets that will help you on your path to working in television.
Nicole Klaymoon

Bio: Nicole Klaymoon is an MA Hip Hop teacher and the Founder/Artistic Director of Embodiment Project, a dance company that interweaves street dance, live song, documentary theater, and spoken-word to create emotionally transparent narratives that serve as unifying political acts. She received a B.A. in Dance from UCLA and an M.F.A. from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Klaymoon is currently a resident choreographer at the ODC Theater. “You can have a first encounter with an artist who pushes you right to the edge of your seat… such was the case with Nicole Klaymoon.” -- SF Bay Guardian
Session: This spoken-word workshop is rooted in a reverence for each individual’s untamed and distinctive poetic voice in the spirit of resistance and self-empowerment. The creative laboratory component offers pathways and inventive maps to support students in creating new poetry compositions.  This workshop will guide students to develop their skills as performance poets and offer the opportunity for students to perform their work for their peers.

Beatrice Thomas

Bio: Beatrice Thomas is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, performer and consultant with a B.A. in Film/Video/Theater from Hampshire College and her M.F.A in Interdisciplinary Design from the University of Texas. She spent the last 12 years working as a grantmaker, curator, arts administrator, festival coordinator and for San Francisco Arts Commission, Queer Culture Center, the George Washington Museum and Cultural Center, Flatbed Press Gallery, and the City of Austin. She has led artist-focused workshops for the National Queer Arts Festival, Intersection for the Arts, and Center for Cultural Innovation, and brought Bay Area queer arts to the attention of national funders and presenters by facilitating "Queering the Arts" conference sessions across the country.
Session: Hustle and Flow: Getting Paid As An Artist and Media Maker. Find out how one artist balances being a drag queen, queer arts advocate, writer, director and radio journalist and how to craft pitches to get paid for radio and print. 

Friday, February 10

Trevor Calvert

Bio: Trevor Calvert is a poet, librarian, and publisher. He studied poetry at Mills College and since then has run a poetry reading series, helped invent a new poetic movement, has been anthologized twice, and has two books of poetry, Rarer and More Wonderful and North Gives Flesh to Wind. He's been interested lately in how things talk to other things. Some of you may also recall when he camped out in the Marin Academy Library...
Workshop: Dear reader, or a brief introduction to epistolary poetry,
In this workshop, students will learn about the history of poetry in letter–form. From Ovid to Alexander Pope to Julia Bloch’s Letters to Kelly Clarkson, poets have been writing letters-in-verse to other poets, to friends and loved ones, to politicians and pop stars, and to the world. But what exactly differentiates a letter from a poem? Does it have to rhyme or is it more about the intent of the writer? During the session, students will be asked to bring an email or open one on their computer or phone, and to first break that email into lines and see how it feels (is it now a poem?) and then to take the same email, address it to someone--or something--else and to now write a new poem which uses a few phrases from the email but has the freedom to become something different. Students will be encouraged to begin epistolary-poem projects with writing partners.
Students will learn:
·      Poetic framing techniques
·      Enjambment
·      Prose-poetry and verse
·      An introduction to lyric poetry
·      And more!
Students in every session will leave having written two poems, and will have been given an envelope containing an epistolary poem in the beginning of the session which, they can choose to read out loud.
Eugenie Chan

Bio: Eugenie Chan is artistic director of Eugenie Chan Theater Projects. Her play, Madame Ho, inspired by the life of her great grandmother, a Barbary Coast Chinatown madam and single mother, will premiere in October 2017 at San Francisco’s Exit Theatre and the Donaldina Cameron House in Chinatown. Her award-winning plays been produced across the country, including at Cutting Ball, Houston Grand Opera, Northwest Asian American Theatre, the Public Theater, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Thick Description.
Eugenie teaches at the University of San Francisco's Performing Arts & Social Justice Department, Marin Academy (whenever she gets the happy chance!), is playwright emerita at Cutting Ball Theater, and a New Dramatist and Playwrights Foundation resident alumna.
Workshop: Currently working on a commission from the Center for Investigative Reporting/ StoryWorks, Eugenie will share and show you how she is building a theater piece on today’s news. In on-your-feet and with-your-pen exercises, you’ll learn how to create characters and ensemble theater scenes – one way to empathetically work with today’s quickly changing news cycles.
Kenny Logan

Bio: Kenneth Logan’s debut young adult novel, True Letters from a Fictional Life, was published in June 2016 by HarperCollins. It tells the story of a closeted, gay high school boy in rural Vermont who writes letters that he never intends to send. Logan taught high school English for several years in Vermont and at San Francisco University High School (2008 to 2010). Currently, he is finishing his doctorate in literacy education at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn.

Workshop: During this workshop, participants will spend part of the time considering questions like: Why read a novel when I could be playing outside? What’s the point of writing a book if there’s no guarantee it will get published? And why is young adult fiction worth reading when I still haven’t read anything by Tolstoy? Additionally, Logan will share writing advice and lead a writing activity, in which participants will choose from three different exercises designed to help them create and develop a fictional character.
Lance Williams

Bio: Lance Williams is senior reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting and co-author of Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked her Professional Sports.
Workshop: Investigative reporting: using public records to learn hidden truths. For a journalist, what is truth, and how are facts proved? Where does an investigative reporter find an expose? What are ethical constraints? How can you use documents and interviews to learn the secrets of powerful people and institutions? Reading: News stories on the student loan crisis, Medicare fraud, and steroids in sports. Please come to class prepared to ask a question. There will be an in-class exercise or two.