Memoirist Highlights HP Lit Fest Program

Save The Dates

HPHS Parent Book Club to discuss The Glass Castle:
4315 Stanhope
7 p.m., Feb. 9

Student Book Discussion of The Glass Castle:
Union Coffee, 5622 Dryer
6 – 7 p.m., Feb. 25

Community Lit Fest Keynote Address by Jeannette Walls
HPHS large auditorium
7 p.m., Feb. 26

Students Only Open Mic Night: Half Price Books on Northwest Highway; 7 p.m., Feb. 27

Jeannette Walls, author of the award-winning memoir The Glass Castle, will give local students a peek into her writing process during the 19th Highland Park Literary Festival.

Walls will headline the festival and deliver a keynote address on Feb. 26 in the auditorium at Highland Park High School, an event that is free and open to the public.

Beforehand, Walls will sign copies of The Glass Castle, a bestseller that was briefly suspended by Highland Park ISD last fall after a parent objected to some content in the memoir about Walls’ troubled childhood, which is currently being adapted into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence. The book was reinstated to the district’s reading list and will be taught in some English classes at HPHS this spring.

Walls, a former online gossip columnist, was chosen as the keynote speaker by the Literary Festival committee prior to the suspension.

“We’re particularly excited about having one of the nation’s top memoirists coming to speak to the kids,” said festival co-chair Amy Berry. “It’s a real privilege for us to feel like we can help them develop in that process.”

Walls also will speak to HPHS juniors and seniors during an assembly earlier that day, and will be one of 24 workshop presenters that interact with students in smaller groups.

The workshops will be an alternative to English classes at the school on Feb. 27, and will cover areas of writing that range from cookbook authorship to film criticism. The diverse mix of speakers includes Nigerian storyteller John Owhonda, slam poet Joaquin Zihuantanejo, and songwriter Eddie Coker.

“We work hard to get a mix of people from all different genres and styles,” said author and festival co-chair Jill Sayre. “We want every student to find some workshop presenters they can relate to and get excited about.”

The Lit Fest programming includes a benefit film screening in January, a year-round book club for both parents and students, an open-mic night for students, a literary scholarship program, and a writing contest during the spring.

“There are no other high schools in the area that offers such a unique opportunity for students,” Sayre said. “It’s great even if you can touch a dozen kids, and make writing and literature more meaningful to them. But it’s a lot more than that, usually.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *