Meghan Gorry is a writer of fiction and native Houstonian. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Rice University, where she studied English and Latin American literature and worked as a Writing Consultant for fellow undergraduates. She has lived in Argentina and spent the past two years studying in Paris at the Sorbonne. Meghan is happy to be back in Houston and excited about her first year working with WITS:
I am really happy to be working with WITS this year. Children have important stories to tell, and I look forward to helping them find their writing voices.
Writing that inspired Meghan as a kid:
The Witches by Roald Dahl
“She might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion. Don’t let that put you off. It could be part of cleverness.
I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch. All I am saying is that she might be one. It is most unlikely. But–here comes the big “but”–not impossible.”
A southern girl (and proud Texas Aggie) at heart, Megan earned her MFA in creative writing in 2004 and celebrated by spending the next seven years in Alaska. She currently resides in the Katy area with her Prince Charming husband and four amazing children. Life is never dull around the Applegate house. A former reporter who loves to ask a million questions, Megan writes middle grade fiction and specializes in fairy tales, folklore, and mythology… believing every story needs at least one troll!
This year, Megan’s biggest hope in the WITS program is to model the idea that imagination can take you anywhere and that you’re never too young, too old, or too anything to dream (and write!) big. Megan’s inspiration has always been Shel Silverstein, and “Crowded Tub” was the first poem she ever memorized:
There are too many kids in this tub
There are too many elbows to scrub
I just washed a behind that I’m sure wasn’t mine
There are too many kids in this tub.
Mark Williams grew up outside Chicago, IL. He taught junior high and high school English there for three years before moving south—first to Boone, NC; then Louisville, KY; and now Houston. Currently, Mark is finishing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville, where he has also studied creative writing.
Here are Mark’s thoughts on working with WITS:
I think creative work—doing our own, seeing others’—is how we all find out we have more in common (and more we can say) than we realized. But finding that out takes trust, and a lot of scaffolding. I can’t wait to join teachers and students in building both.
My favorite book as a child was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. Here’s a favorite section:
Patrick Clement James is a poet, essayist, and musician. A graduate of the Manhattan School of
Music, he is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Houston. Having taught in
Montessori and public schools, he is excited to engage educationally with the community of Houston. In this capacity, he hopes to help students discover the power of their experiences, voices, and imaginations. One of his first resonating encounters with literature was when he read, for the first time, the final paragraph of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a
grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long-ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”
Join WITS this Saturday, September 15th in celebrating Hispanic writers at Librofest, a book and arts festival that highlights the Latino community. A free event hosted by the Houston Public Library, Librofest will include storytelling, writing workshops, book giveaways, crafts, and performances for the whole family. This inaugural festival will feature a reading from several celebrated poets and writers including Gwendolyn Zepeda, Claudia Kolker, Javier O. Huerta, and Sarah Cortez. Feel free to stop by exhibitors’ tables and discover what’s new from Writers in the Schools, Arte Público Press, Casa Ramírez, Houston Public Library, Literal magazine, MECA, Nuestra Palabra, and Society for the Performing Arts.
WITS will be hosting a free workshop for kids at Librofest, located in the library’s main building (first floor gallery area) at 1:45 pm. WITS Writers Weezie Mackey and Carmen Jacobsen will lead students in exercises that explore creativity and celebrate Latino community and culture.
Fun for all ages! We can’t wait to see you there!
When & Where
Saturday, September 15, 2012
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Houston Public Library’s Central Library Plaza
500 McKinney St.
Houston, TX 77002
For more information, click here or call 832-393-1313.
Current WITS Writer Miah Arnold and past WITS Writer Sarah Cortez will be reading at Kaboom Books tonight at LitFuse’s Fall Season Opener.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 Kaboom Book in Woodland Heights
7:30 PM, free
Here’s the announcement from LitFuse:
WITS Writer Miah Arnold
For our Welcome To Fall season opener, LitFuse is excited to welcome three of Houston’s very best: Miah Arnold, Marc Phillips, and Sarah Cortez. Miah Arnold is the author of Sweet Land of Bigamy (Tyrus Books 2012). Her essay, “You Owe Me” (originally published by Michigan Quarterly Review) will appear in Best American Essays 2012. She grew up in a house attached to The Three Legged Dog Saloon in rural Utah, studied history at Carleton College, and earned a Ph. D. in writing and literature at the University of Houston. She has served as a fiction editor at Gulf Coast and a poetry editor at Lyric Poetry Review. Her work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Nanofiction, Confrontation, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the South Dakota Review. She has received a Barthelme Award, an Inprint/Diana P. Hobby Award, and an Established Artists Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance for her work.
Marc Phillips. “Author, journalist, in print since 1991. Award-winning short stories, poetry. Debut novel The Legend of Sander Grant (Telegram 2009). Lives in Houston.”
Former WITS Writer Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez is the author of an acclaimed poetry collection, How to Undress a Cop, and winner of the PEN Texas literary award in poetry. She edited Urban Speak: Poetry of the City; Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives (winner of the 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award); Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery; and Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books). In May 2011, her latest project entitled You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens was released by Arte Público Press. Her most recent title is “Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston,” a mixed-genre, groundbreaking memoir. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century, The Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, The Texas Review, New Texas, Louisiana Review, Blue Rock Review, Pennsylvania English, The Midwest Quarterly and elsewhere and is widely anthologized in collections by Penguin, the Great Books Foundation, and other international publishers.
I look into a clear blue river
That whispers to me, “Look here! Look here!”
And so I satisfy my curiosity and see a sliver
Of light outstretch a hand into where
I then see a collision of color
That tastes of sweet solace and content
With the thought of no longer returning to the other
Side of the light. The side where everything has so much intent
And all is done as asked from the city. But I
Know I feel the relief of this stream helping
Me defeat all existing anxiety within my eye
And giving me this chance to rest and dream, finally begin forgetting.
Life is a struggle endured every day
So one should just breathe we know
Everything will be okay.
WITS writer Miah Arnold began the launch of her first published novel with a book signing at Brazos Bookstore on July 19, almost selling out of the pre-ordered books on hand. Arnold has been on a national book reading/signing tour since.
Arnold is a fiction writer from rural Utah educated at Carleton College, The New School for Social Research, and the University of Houston where she earned a PhD in creative writing and literature. Her stories appear in a number of literary magazines, including Confrontation, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the South Dakota Review. She won a Barthelme Award for nonfiction in 2006 and the Inprint/Diana P. Hobby Award for her fiction at the University of Houston in 2008.
In Sweet Land of Bigamy, the main character, Helen, falls in love with and marries a poet from India, while her first husband is away in Iraq. “The Sweet Land of Bigamy is a funny and surprisingly touching exploration of what marriage can be.” Visit Miah’s web site for more reviews, information about her book tour, and to read her latest blog posts.
The 2011-12 Writers In The Schools class at Meadow Wood Elementary School consisted of 69 amazing, creative students and 3 teachers who worked hard to honor the building of a new school. The students collected objects and memories to place in a time capsule; then they scripted a poem, with each student reading his/her line, which you can listen to as you walk a 1 mile walking tour through SPARK Park. Click here to access the audio walking tour and a map of the park. Congrats to a wonderful project honoring our city!
Time Capsule Items
Hear Our Houston is a collection of public generated audio walking tours around Houston.
Rob Kimbro, a theatre director and educator, is co-teaching with WITS writer Kiki Przewlocki a class of entering 3rd graders at the Creative Writing Camp this summer and shared this about his first day:
Writer John Looking for Inspiration
The 3rd grade class at Travis Elementary got off to a great start with a game of Everybody Who… This game is similar to Musical Chairs. The person without a chair has to share something true about themselves, and everybody else for whom that thing is true has to get up a find a new chair. When the chaos dies down, a new person is left in the middle. That person shares a true thing about themselves, and we’re off again. After learning a lot about each other, we wrote poems based on what we’d shared. Here’s a collage poem made of lines from each of the young writers.
On Thursday, May 17th, at 7pm, Writers in the Schools (WITS) students will share their art-inspired creative writing at the Menil Collection. This reading, called The Watchful Eye, will feature stories, essays, and poems that come out of a collaborative project called Writing at the Menil. The event is free, and the public is welcome.
Writers in the Schools (WITS) will celebrate some of Houston’s most talented young artists at its Young Writers Reading, an annual literary event held May 6th, at 3 pm at Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston. The event is free and open to the public.
WITS Young Writers Reading event enriches the lives of students ranging from elementary to high school age by giving them the chance to read the work they have written under the guidance of a professional writer. Each student has been chosen from a juried competition. WITS publishes the best work in a bound anthology called Blooms.
The Young Writers Reading Series began in 1989 as a way to celebrate the achievements of the city’s most gifted young writers. For more information, visit www.witshouston.org.
You won’t want to miss this wonderful event at Discovery Green! Arrive early to play with our friends from Playworks Houston. Please come out on Sunday to support Houston’s youngest poets and writers!