- Student Activities
Los Altos High School is proud to announce Writers Week, taking place from March 15th through March 18th, 2022.
Since 1985 writers have come to our English classes to speak about their individual work as well as the life and craft of a writer. Here are just a few of the amazing speakers we are happy to host this year.
Rita Bullwinkel is the author of the story collection Belly Up, which won the 2018 Believer Book Award, and was translated into Italian and Greek. Bullwinkel’s writing has been published in Tin House, Conjunctions, BOMB, Vice, NOON, and Guernica. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Hawthornden Castle, and The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Both her fiction and translation have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She is an Editor at Large for McSweeney's and a Contributing Editor for NOON. She lives in San Francisco and teaches at the California College of the Arts.
Alison Carpenter Davis
Alison Carpenter Davis
A former managing editor at Outside magazine, Al has written for the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, The Independent (U.K.), the International Herald Tribune, and Stanford Magazine, among others. She was formerly an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and more recently co-founded the Disability at Stanford Oral History Project. She authored and edited the book Letters Home from Stanford, and is at work on a memoir. Al lives in Los Gatos in a house where three children and their dog once grew.
CHRISTINA CLANCY'S work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine and in various literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Pleiades and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and taught English at Beloit College. The Second Home is her first novel. It has been optioned for a limited television series starring Nicolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones. Her second novel, Shoulder Season, was published last summer.
Jennieke Cohen is a Filipina-American author of young adult historical fiction. Her debut novel, DANGEROUS ALLIANCE, was a Junior Library Guild selection and has been translated into multiple languages. Jennieke studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California.
When not writing or researching little-known corners of history, you'll find her cooking and baking up a storm, singing show tunes, over-analyzing old movies, or getting outside to enjoy the sun in her native Northern California.
Kate Crane has written and edited for Dow Jones, Men’s Journal, Radar, Inc., Hearst publications, and Brooklyn Rail. She covered music regularly for Time Out New York for about a decade. At SmartMoney: The Wall Street Journal Magazine, she was deputy managing editor, and moved to Silicon Valley in 2015 to be deputy editor of news and culture site OZY.com.
Whatever Happened to Eddy Crane (Hanover Square Press), a memoir about her father's 1987 murder and the years she spent trying to understand it, will be published in 2021.
KELLY LOY GILBERT
KELLY LOY GILBERT
Kelly Loy Gilbert is the author of PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT, which was a winner of the California Book Award and an LA Times Book Prize finalist, and CONVICTION, which was a finalist for the Morris Award. Her next book, WHEN WE WERE INFINITE, is forthcoming in March.
Maria Guardado got hooked on baseball as a young kid thanks to an older sibling who took her to an Oakland A’s game as a birthday present.
After covering the New York Mets beat for the Newark Star-Ledger and then working as the Angels’ beat reporter for MLB.com, Maria is back in the Bay Area. Instead of covering the hometown team she grew up rooting for, she covers the San Francisco Giants.
Abigail Hing Wen is the New York Times Best Selling Author of Loveboat, Taipei and the recently released companion novel, Loveboat Reunion. She is executive producer for the Loveboat, Taipei film, starring Ross Butler and Ashley Liao, which wrapped production in Taipei earlier this year. Abigail holds a BA from Harvard, a JD from Columbia Law School, and an MFA from the Vermont School of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing stories or listening to her favorite scores, she is busy working in artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley, where she lives with her husband and two children.
For more information: www.abigailhingwen.com
Follow IG/Twi: @abigailhingwen
Vanessa Hua is an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the national bestseller A River of Stars, as well as Deceit and Other Possibilities, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the forthcoming Forbidden City. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has also received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association. She has filed stories from China, Burma, South Korea, Panama, and Ecuador, and her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She has taught, most recently, at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
Ann Jacobus is the author of YA novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, and The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent, forthcoming in 2023, as well as short stories, essays, and poetry. She earned a B.S. from Dartmouth College, an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a volunteer crisis line counselor at San Francisco Suicide Prevention. She loves teaching writers of all ages.
Steve Kettmann has reported from more than forty countries for publications including The New York Times, Salon, and Wired.com. A former San Francisco Chronicle’s A’s beat writer, he is the author or coauthor of nine previous books including the critically acclaimed One Day At Fenway and the New York Times bestselling Juiced with Jose Canseco.
Rektok Ross is the pen name of Liani Kotcher, a veteran trial attorney turned screenwriter, producer, and award-winning author. An avid reader since childhood, Liani writes exactly the kind of books she loves to escape into herself: exciting thrillers with strong female leads, swoonworthy love interests, and life-changing moments. Her debut young adult thriller SKI WEEKEND (SparkPress/Blackstone Publishing) has been named a “best book” of 2021 byCosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Parade, BookRiot, Yahoo!Life, Brit + Co., BookTrib, J-14, and more and was a Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Winner, a Readers Views Literary Awards Winner, an Independent Press Awards “Distinguished Favorite,” an American Fiction Awards Finalist, an IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist, and short-listed for the Chanticleer Dante Rossetti Book Awards. SKI WEEKEND has also been optioned for a major motion picture. Liani graduated from the University of Florida School of Journalism and obtained her juris doctorate at the University of Miami School of Law. Originally from South Florida, she currently splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles with her husband, stepkids, and her dogs. You can find her online just about anywhere at @RektokRoss, as well as on her website, www.RektokRoss.com, where she blogs about books and writing.
Lindsay Lackey is the author of the bestselling middle grade novel, All the Impossible Things (Roaring Brook Press), which was named a Best Book of 2019 by the New York Public Library, Denver Public Library, and Children’s Book Review, and was a 2020 WILLA Literary Award Finalist in Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction. Before she became an author, Lindsay trained as an opera singer, worked in children’s and teen services at a public library, and as a marketing and publicity coordinator for a major publishing house. Born and raised in Colorado, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their spoiled dogs.
DEVI S. LASKAR
DEVI S. LASKAR
Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and holds an MFA from Columbia University. The Atlas of Reds and Blues—winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the Crook’s Corner Book Prize—is her first novel. It was selected by The Georgia Center for the Book as a book “All Georgians Should Read,” long-listed for the DSC Prize in South Asian Literature, and long-listed for the Golden Poppy Award presented by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. The Atlas of Reds and Blues was named by The Washington Post as one of the best books of 2019, and has garnered praise in Time magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, and elsewhere. Her second novel, CIRCA, will be published May 3, 2022 by Mariner Books. A former newspaper reporter, Laskar is now a poet, photographer, essayist, and novelist.
Julie Lythcott-Haims believes in humans and is deeply interested in what gets in our way. Her work encompasses writing, speaking, teaching, mentoring, and activism.
She is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult which gave rise to a popular TED Talk. Her second book is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience as a Black and biracial person in white spaces. Her third book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, has been called a “groundbreakingly frank” guide to adulthood.
Julie holds degrees from Stanford, Harvard Law, and California College of the Arts. She currently serves on the boards of Common Sense Media, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Narrative Magazine, and on the Board of Trustees at California College of the Arts. She serves on the advisory boards of LeanIn.Org, Sir Ken Robinson Foundation and Baldwin For the Arts.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner of over thirty years, their itinerant young adults, and her mother.
Zoe Morgan is a 2014 Los Altos High School graduate who currently works as the education reporter at the Los Altos Town Crier newspaper. She covers local school districts, including MVLA, and writes articles on issues ranging from the debate over facilities for Bullis Charter School to feature pieces about school clubs and extracurricular activities. Since the pandemic began, much of her writing has been about campus closures and the ways that schools have adapted.
For as long as she can remember, Zoe has loved immersing herself in the minutiae of school budgets and policy decisions, and translating those details into compelling stories. As a student at Los Altos High School, Zoe was the news editor and then editor-in-chief of The Talon and spent much of her time attending school board meetings and asking school administrators a seemingly endless stream of questions.
From LAHS, Zoe attended American University in Washington, DC, where she received a dual degree in journalism and public affairs, with a minor in data science. She then spent a year covering education in rural Oregon at the Grants Pass Daily Courier, becoming coming back home to work at the Los Altos Town Crier.
Parker Peevyhouse loves In-N-Out fries, redwood trees, and movies about sentient robots. She is the author of the science fiction puzzle-thrillers Strange Exit (Tor Teen 2020) and The Echo Room (Tor Teen 2018), which have been called “compulsively readable” and "thrilling" in starred reviews. Her collection of novellas, Where Futures End (Penguin 2016) was named a Best Book For Teens by the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and Bank Street. Parker lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and works in education.
Ken Pontac has been a Migrant Film Worker in the animation industry for over a quarter of a century, writing and directing content for television, film, and various new-fangled thinking machines. In the past several years Pontac has written scripts and dialog for the Marvel Universe MMO, Sonic the Hedgehog’s “Lost World” game for Sega, a new animated series featuring the ghost gobbling Pac-Man, Disney’s animated action/adventure series Slugterra, an upcoming revival of the classic “Thunderbirds Are Go!” series, the charming pre-school show Octonauts, and the less-than-charming Internet sensation Happy Tree Friends (a show so violent that it's banned in Russia). He is also still receiving royalty checks for writing the LazyTown song "You Are A Pirate," which has become an Internet meme, enjoying millions of hits on YouTube and inspiring multiple mash-ups and drunken karaoke videos. Pontac lives in Sausalito with a beautiful redheaded nurse and his two crazy canines, Whistle the Wonder Dog and Chalupa.
Shannon Price is a proud Filipina-American and Bay Area native. She once led an a cappella group for three years despite not knowing how to read music, and she carries that same level of confidence in every area of her life. When not writing, she can be found watching baking shows, exploring old bookstores, and going to the beach as often as she can.
Anne Raeff's second novel, Winter Kept Us Warm, published in 2018, won the silver medal for the California Book Award for Fiction. Her short story collection, The Jungle Around Us won the 2015 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. The collection was also a finalist for the California Book Award and was on The San Francisco Chronicle's 100 Best Books of 2017 list. In 2019 she was a finalist for the Simpson Literary Award. Clara Mondschein's Melancholia, also a novel, was published in 2002. Raeff's stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica among other places. Her next novel, Only the River, was published in May 2020. She is proud to be a high school teacher and lives in San Francisco.
Trent Reedy served as a combat engineer in the Iowa Army National Guard from 1999 to 2005, including a year’s tour of duty in Afghanistan. Based upon his experiences there, he wrote his debut middle grade novel Words in the Dust, which won the Christopher Medal and was chosen for Al Roker’s Book Club for Kids on the Today show. Since then, he’s written several other novels for young people, including Enduring Freedom, co-written with his Afghan friend Jawad Arash as well Hunter’s Choice and Racing Storm Mountain from the McCall Mountain series of outdoor adventure novels. Trent also writes a bi-monthly military life column for the Washington Examiner. He lives with his family outside Spokane, Washington.
Shanthi Sekaran is a novelist and television writer. She most recently made her middle grade debut with The Samosa Rebellion (2021, Harper Kids), an Amazon Editor's Pick for readers aged 9-13. Her most recent adult novel, Lucky Boy, was named an Indie Next Great Read, an Amazon Editor's Pick and a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Library Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle. She recently left a teaching career to join the writers' room of the acclaimed NBC medical drama, "New Amsterdam". She lives in Berkeley, California with her family and a cat named Frog.
Yasmeen Serhan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers a wide range of topics, including populism, nationalism, and global protest movements. Since joining the magazine's London bureau in 2017, she has also reported on Brexit, European politics, and transatlantic affairs. She was previously an assistant editor and editorial fellow with The Atlantic in Washington, D.C. Even more previously, she studied international relations and French at the University of Southern California, where she could often be found writing and editing stories for the university's student-run newspaper, the Daily Trojan. She graduated from Los Altos High School in 2012.
Best-selling author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of twelve books of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.
Her children’s picture books include Escargot, Dangerously Ever After, and The Antlered Ship, a Junior Library Guild selection and a Parents Choice Recommended book that received four starred reviews and was named Best Picture Book of the year by both Amazon and the Northern California Independent Bookseller’s Association. Her latest books are A Book for Escargot, a sequel to the popular picture book about a beautiful French snail, and The Book of Fatal Errors, a middle grade fantasy.
Her New York Times bestselling true crime narrative, The 57 Bus, has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the 2018 Beatty Award from the California Library Association. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist, an LA Times Book Award Finalist, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Young Adult Book of the Year, in addition to receiving four starred reviews and being named to more than 18 separate lists of the year’s best books, including ones compiled by the Washington Post, the New York Public Library, and School Library Journal.
Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Her first novel It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, won the Asian Pacific Islander American Librarians’ Association’s Award for Young Adult Literature; her highly acclaimed second novel, This Time Will Be Different, made the Best of 2019 lists of YALSA, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Her short story, “Where I’m From” appears in Come On In, a young adult anthology of stories about immigration. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters has been praised by the American Library Association as "hilariously awkward" and "honestly poignant."
Misa was born in Chicago, earned a B.A. in English at Princeton University, and taught English as a second language in Japan before moving back to the States to earn her M.Ed at Stanford University. She taught English at a local public high for several years before “retiring” to be a stay-at-home parent. Currently, she lives and writes under a giant oak tree with her husband, two sons, and two cats. You can find her online at misasugiura.com and @misallaneous1 on Twitter and Instagram.
JENN ALANDY TRAHAN
JENN ALANDY TRAHAN
Jenn Alandy Trahan is a first-generation college graduate who received her BA in English from the University of California, Irvine and went on to receive both her MA in English and MFA in Fiction from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She is grateful for support from Carlisle Family Scholarships at the Community of Writers, the Gullkistan Center for Creativity in Laugarvatn, Iceland, the Writing Downtown residency in Las Vegas, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her work has appeared in Permafrost, Blue Mesa Review, Harper's, One Story, and the Best American Short Stories. A 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction, she's currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford teaching courses in fiction, creative nonfiction, creative expression, Pilipinx fiction and contemporary American short stories.
Len Vlahos is the author of five novels for young adults, including The Scar Boys, Life in a Fishbowl, and Hard Wired. Len dropped out of NYU film school in the 1980s to play guitar and write songs for the punk-pop band, Woofing Cookies. Since then he has earned a black belt in Taekwondo (“You can still beat me up, but I’m going to look good while you do it”), and has learned to play ice hockey (not very well). He’s spent most of his adult life working as a bookseller, or in the service of booksellers. Len and his family live in Littleton, Colorado.
Alia is the author of the new memoir Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020), winner of the Golden Poppy Award for Nonfiction from the California Independent Bookseller Alliance and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography.
She’s a homegrown San Franciscan. Her work has been published in The Best American Essays, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Salon, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing. Her family story has been featured on Snap Judgement, Criminal, and NPR’s Fresh Air.