Writers Week Hopes to Inspire, Educate Students

Over 30 professional writers will visit the school between Monday, February 9 and Thursday, February 12 as part of the 24th annual Writers Week. The four-day event is meant to inspire students to write and introduce ways that writing can be used outside of the classroom. Writers, from journalists to script writers, will visit English classes to talk about their experiences.
“Writers Week is important for students who love to write, who think of themselves as future writers,” English teacher Galen Rosenberg said. “It tells them that it really is possible to make a life of their love of writing. For most students, who aren’t going to become professional writers, it reinforces the importance of writing as a fundamental skill for pretty much anything they are going to do in their lives.”
Writers Week was created by the parents of Tracey Cullinan, a student who passed away during his senior year. This year, the event is being organized by Rosenberg, along with parent volunteers Bella Shapero and Arabella Napier. The event is funded by the PTSA, which offers a small amount of money as an honorarium to the writers who attend.
“We are fortunate to live in a community full of talented writers,” Shapero said. “These are talented, mostly young poets and fiction writers, who bring energy and enthusiasm for their work into our classrooms. We have had journalists in our classrooms talking about their experiences covering wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, the homeless in San Francisco, impoverished children in South America, technology in China and the pipeline in Alaska.”
The main event of Writers Week, the Community Read, is set to take place next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Eagle Theatre and will feature the author of “Lost City Radio,” Daniel Alarcón. The event is free and open to everyone. It will start with a performance by the Composition Blues Band, a group of Stanford Writing Professors that sings parodies about various aspects of writing and has frequented Writers Week in the past. This will be followed by a talk from Alarcón. There will be a book sale and signing after the event, courtesy of Kepler’s Books.
“I try to make sure [the talks] are spontaneous, which generally…turns out alright,” Alarcón said. “At this point I’ve read from or discussed [‘Lost City Radio’] in more than 20 countries.”
Alarcón is the author of two books—the short story collection “War by Candlelight” and “Lost City Radio.” “Lost City Radio” is set in a fictional post-war South American country, telling the story of a woman who is the voice of a radio show that aims to connect refugees with their loved ones. Students are encouraged to read the book before coming to the Community Read.
Alarcón is also the associate editor of Etiqueta Negra, a monthly magazine published in his native country, Peru. Both of Alarcón’s books have been published in Spanish, and the Spanish title of “Lost City Radio” is “Radio Ciudad Perdida.”