Sarah Larson ’91, a staff writer at The New Yorker, spent Tuesday, April 12, on the Island engaging in discussions and workshops with groups of students, including a Dinner & a Draft event with student writers.
During the day, Sarah worked with seniors in a College-Level Creative Writing class, met with sophomores in a Seminar in the Common Good, and enjoyed conversation with theater students over lunch.
In the evening, Sarah joined 13 student writers for dinner, discussion of their craft, and an informal writing exercise. Sarah read excerpts from a column she wrote commenting on the popularity of podcasts about the television series The Office, and then she invited the students to draft a critique of a book, podcast, show, or other entertainment form they had encountered recently. She encouraged them to connect their chosen topics to broader ideas, as she had done in the column.
After a few minutes of writing, the students read their drafts for the gathering. Sarah responded with interest and observations about each piece. “I want to read all of these full-length pieces,” she told the students after all had shared their drafts. “I hate that I’m not going to see you all tomorrow.
Sarah also offered the students several tips on writing, including the suggestion that they keep the creative and the editing parts of their writing process separate, rather than editing themselves while writing. She said she must remind herself to follow this practice every time she writes.
Organized by Loomis Chaffee Writing Initiatives, Sarah’s visit was sponsored by the Ralph M. Shulansky ’45 Lecture Fund. Former faculty member John Shulansky ’72 joined the group for the dinner and conversation as a representative of the family. Also attending the evening event were former faculty member James Rugen ’70, who was Sarah’s advisor at Loomis, and members of the Writing Initiatives faculty.