Los Altos High hosts 29th Writers Week

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Professional writers such as Ellen Sussman, share their writing processes with students and explain how they got where they are today.

Los Altos High School hosted its 29th Writer’s Week last week, presenting a diverse lineup of professional writers who inspired and encouraged students.

Writers of fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, short stories, scripts, songs and blogs met with English classes and shared their stories, their paths to becoming writers and the details of their writing processes.

In one classroom, young-adult author and former teacher Lindsay Tam Holland discussed how she began writing and distributed prompts to students that included a character and an action, urging them to write any type of story.

Another presenter, Kimberly Grey, read her poems to an enthralled classroom of students. She shared her poignant poem about the Newton, Conn., shooting, in which she uses many “un” words – with the exception of “gun.”

Bay Area author Ellen Sussman said she draws from her childhood in her writing career. Remembering both words of praise and criticism helped her endure many rejection letters before becoming the author of four best-selling novels.

She encouraged students to reach for the stars, never let anyone tell them that they can’t do anything and expect to experience disappointment along the way.

Local residents attended the Community Read event March 5, where Robin Sloan, author of “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” read from his debut novel.

Organizers of Writers Week collaborate with two Stanford University writing programs and each year host both Stegner fellows (prose and poetry) and Knight fellows (journalism) in addition to other writers from the Bay Area.

The Tracey Cullinan Memorial Fund helped establish Writers Week in 1985. Los Altos High parents now fund Writers Week.

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