Acclaimed author Hanna Halperin—who wrote “Something Wild” and “I Could Live Here Forever”—visited Gann on Monday to discuss her writing process, how the publishing industry works, and answer any other questions our students had.
Halperin began her day at Gann with a lunchtime talk in the library, organized by Library Media Specialist Sarah Feldman. A large group of both students and staff came to listen and learn from Halperin.
She then spoke with English Teacher Naomi Bilmes’s “Creative Writing” class, where she led them through a writing exercise. “The thing I like about writing exercises is it cuts down some of the decision making of starting something new, and it lets you get to the action faster,” said Halperin. The class diligently worked for 10 minutes with her prompt, following a character that is looking out a window and has just received some life-changing news.
This fit with the current skill of short story writing that the students are working on. Ms. Bilmes has been working on exploring different genres throughout the semester, teaching them poetry, personal essays, and short fiction.
“I think it’s really inspiring to have an author come to class,” said Ms. Bilmes. “Kids who are in ‘Creative Writing’ chose to take this class because writing is something they love. This allows them to see their hobby turned into a profession and see what that career looks like.”
Last week, this class welcomed Arnon Shorr ’01—a Gann alumnus, previous Gann teacher, and current screenwriter, filmmaker, and comic book author. Between these two visits, the students have been able to learn about many different styles of writing and trajectories of creative career paths.
The students have definitely loved having guest speakers. “Thank you so much,” wrote one student in a note to Halperin. “You really inspired me! I’m so excited to read your books!”