LitFest 2018

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.

Keynote Speaker

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage;Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, is forthcoming in 2018. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.


Thursday, February 1

Keynote Speaker: Juan Felipe Herrera
11:10 a.m. in the Athletic Center

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

EL GRUPO APOCALYPSE:  Try on the skills of group power writing and expanded imagination. We are going to explore poetry as power group work, with group words, group readings out loud and group writing & group drawings — Based on lists of extreme relevant issues that students will choose.  The goal will be to deal with and solve the issues at hand.

WORLD SUPER HEROS: Kinesthetic Power Workshop: Try on the skills of movement, writing & high-improvisation. We will explore using motion, sports moves and themes to save the world as it is today

FROM THE DEEP  ROBOT-ANIMAL CYBORG:: Try on the skills of creating Poetry in Society with the Animal and Techno realm. We will construct things, maybe an urban city run by animal Robots that have something to
say that is most urgent to the students.
Emily June Street

Bio: Emily is the author of The Velocipede Races, a steampunk bicycle racing book that celebrates the history of the bicycle and women's liberation. She is also the author of the Tales of Blood & Light fantasy series.  Writing is the way she spend most of her time when not rolling like a ball as a Pilates Instructor. She spent a great deal of time at the beach while getting degrees at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
Workshop: Begin to build a whole new world by exploring the components that make the fantasy genre unique: world-building and magic systems. We'll cover the elements integral to any believable fantasy world, using examples from popular fantasy literature. We'll also discuss why world-building is important to the deeper themes of a work, and then we'll use Emily's system to lay the foundation for your own unique world, seeing how the central conflict of your story emerges from the world you imagine.

Ethan Watters

Bio: Ethan Watters is an author and journalist who has spent the last two decades writing about culture, psychiatry and social psychology. He is the author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche.  Prior to that, he wrote Urban Tribes: Are Friends the New Family, an examination of the growing population of the “never marrieds.” Watters has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Pacific Standard, Mother Jones, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and This American Life. Watters is co-founder of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, a workspace for journalists, novelists, poets and filmmakers. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.
Workshop: Are non-fiction writers like video cameras, faithfully recording the world without filter? Or is their job to interpret and shape the story through their individual perceptions? Using an examples from David Foster Wallace and Joan Didion, we’ll explore the evolving craft of long form non-fiction in this interactive workshop. We’ll discuss the critical task of discovering your writerly “voice” and the first steps young writers can make towards getting published.

Friday, February 2

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 a Visiting Assistant Professor in literacy education at  New York University.

Workshop: During part of the workshop, we'll talk about the genre of Young Adult (YA) literature. What are the qualities of the best YA books you've read? What are the qualities of the worst? Logan will also share writing advice and lead three writing activities designed to help students establish realistic settings and develop fictional characters.
Nicole Klaymoon

Bio: Nicole Klaymoon is Founder and Artistic Director of the Embodiment Project, a street dance theater company whose mission is to challenge systemic inequity by exploring themes of trauma, healing, womanist histories, race, and gender role dissolution. Dance magazine contributing editor Rita Felciano called Embodiment Project one of the Bay Area’s, “ten companies and artists who challenged expectations and unveiled surprises…in 2012.”  SF Chronicle said Klaymoon’s work is “a bit like taking a defibrillator jolt to the soul”.  Her new work Ancient Children, sponsored by MAP Fund, explores the ways restorative justice can interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and will premier at the ODC Theater in June 2018. As a solo performer, Klaymoon created the dance theater production, Sixth Vowel, choreographed by Rennie Harris and directed by Kamilah Forbes of the New York City Hip Hop Theatre Festival. Miami New Times art critic Chuck Strouse wrote “Nicole Klaymoon’s Sixth Vowel was THE BEST small theatrical production I have seen in this city in a decade.”  She is currently a resident artist at the ODC Theater, a recipient of the Headlands Center for the Arts residency, and the Gerbode and Hewlett Foundation's Commissioning Choreographers Award.  Klaymoon has collaborated with G.R.A.C.E. Africa in Embu Kenya, to create performance to challenge stigma around HIV/AIDS epidemic and incite important dialogue about sexual health. She has performed in dance works directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Rennie Harris, Sean San Jose, Amara Tabor-Smith, Meredith Monk, Maria Gellespie, and Anne Bluethenthal.  Klaymoon currently teaches a company technique class at Dance Mission in San Francisco, and is on faculty of the Performing Arts department at USF, Marin Academy High School and ODC Dance School. She received a B.A. in Dance from UCLA and an M.F.A. from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Workshop: 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.
Laura Klivans

Bio: I’m a community health reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. My work is also on NPR, Here & Now, Reply All, and PRI's The World. Before getting hooked on audio, I worked in education, leading groups of high school and college youth to places like Bangladesh, Peru and Guatemala. One of my favorite jobs was teaching on the Thai-Burmese border, where I worked with immigrants and refugees. I have a master’s in journalism from U.C. Berkeley, a master’s in education from Harvard, and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern. I teach audio at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Workshop: "Stories are a communal currency of humanity." --Tahir Shah in Arabian Nights. People have been telling stories for millenia. Sitting around a campfire, these tales were a key part of learning and entertainment. Now, among all the other ways we learn and entertain ourselves, oral storytelling continues to thrive. This happens through radio, podcasts, and yes, still that occasional campfire. In this workshop, we’ll explore the power of sound, the surprisingly visual nature of a story meant for the ear, and thread between the ear and the heart. We’ll listen, create, and pull audio stories apart into their main components. We’ll discuss how audio storytelling can open up an exciting professional path, and how telling these stories can create extraordinary change.
LOL McFeircen presented by Authentic Arts and Media

Bio: Kevin Seaman is an interdisciplinary artist, drag queen and cultural worker with over a decade of experience working with Bay Area arts communities. Kevin’s interdisciplinary work exploring LGBTQ and drag culture at the intersection of gender and sexuality has been presented at cultural venues both locally and nationally. As a consultant specializing in fundraising and capacity building, he has helped to raise over $2 million for organizations and individual artists rooted in LGBTQ communities and communities of color. With his partner Beatrice Thomas, Kevin has led artist-focused workshops for the National Queer Arts Festival, Center for Cultural Innovation, and Groundswell Institute, and has promoted queer arts by facilitating workshops for Grantmakers in the Arts, APAP|NYC and California Presenters. Kevin is a core artist and performer in Daughters of a RIOT!, a multidisciplinary theatrical show staging key moments in San Francisco’s LGBTQ civil rights history, and is currently in residence at Brava Theater creating his first solo production #femmasculine, an interdisciplinary performance exploring gay male gender and sexuality.
Workshop: Drag Queen 101: The Art of Creative Resistance. We are all familiar with RuPaul’s Drag Race, but did you know there is a whole world of drag queens using their skills to make the world a better place. In this workshop you’ll learn about the different types of drag from kings to queens, and what goes into making a drag performance.  Learn about organizations and individuals using drag as a powerful tool for activism and have an opportunity to draft your first performance, design your first face and get a look at the wig, make-up and foam padding that makes up a drag queen’s bag of tricks.