Students explore creativity at the annual Writers Festival


Emily Shull '25

Students explore the world of creative writing at the Greenwich Writers Festival.

Students and faculty from Sacred Heart Greenwich, Brunswick School, and Greenwich Academy (GA) participated in the fourteenth annual Writers Festival April 1 to celebrate a love for creative writing.  Journalist and fiction writer Ms. Lisa Miller, poet Ms. Natasha Rao, and English professor and fiction writer Professor Hirsh Sawhney led writing workshops where students could explore the world of creative literature.  Junior Avery Kim examined the value of opening the mind to creativity and how the Writers Festival fostered imaginative thinking. 

The festival began with opening readings from students, followed by each author conducting rotating writers’ workshops, and ended with a student-led open microphone.  Ms. Lauren Delapenha, GA Upper School English Teacher and Daedalus Co-Faculty Adviser, organized the Writers Festival, along with Dr. Cristina Baptista, Sacred Heart Upper School English Teacher and Perspectives Advisor, Dr. William Mottolese, Sacred Heart Upper School English Teacher and Chair of English Department, and Dr. Brian Freeman, Brunswick Upper School English and Greek Teacher and Chair of English Department.  From each of the three schools, student volunteers assisted the teachers in orchestrating the event.  Avery, one of the student volunteers, commented on the value of having a community that shares a love for creative writing.

Dr. Sawhney, Ms. Miller, and Ms. Rao share advice about the writing process with students.  Courtesy of Dr. Cristina Baptista

“Having a writing community has been really important to my growth as a writer,” Avery said.  “When I was younger, I thought of creative writing as more of a personal thing, but, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned the value of having a writing network where you can share ideas, receive edits, become exposed to different genres or styles of creative writing, and learn and be inspired by each other.  I think the Writers Fest allows students to form those relationships.”

Journalist and fiction writer Ms. Miller is an editor for New York Magazine.  She formerly wrote for the religion column in The Washington Post and was the senior editor of Newsweek Magazine.  Ms. Miller published her first book “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife” in 2010.  Additionally, she has won the New York Newsweek’s club prize for feature writing on multiple occasions, according to  At this year’s Writers Festival, Ms. Miller led a workshop that focused on journalistic writing and how to write journalism creatively. 

Ms. Rao is the author of Latitude, a book of poetry published in 2021.  Some magazines that have featured her work include Nation, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Poetry Northwest, Narrative, and Rattle, according to  Ms. Rao conducted a workshop that centered around poetic writing at this year’s Writers Festival. 

Students from the Greenwich area gather to celebrate creative writing.  Courtesy of Dr. Cristina Baptista

Professor Sawhney is a novelist and fiction writer.  Periodicals in which his work has appeared are the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Indian Express, Harvard Review, the Financial Times, and Outlook, according to  At this year’s Writers Festival, Professor Sawhney led a workshop that concentrated on fictional prose.

Avery considered how, like these authors, creative writing has shaped her own life by helping her materialize ideas and everyday thoughts in her head.  She discussed how writing has encouraged her growth as a person.

“Creative writing has taught me a lot about myself,” Avery said.  “It is a place where I can reflect on my experiences and my beliefs more than in analytical or journalistic writing.  I think that creative writing has allowed me to memorialize and capture the times of change and learning that I’ve gone through.  Even when a work of poetry or prose isn’t technically about my life, I find that looking back on my writing is almost like looking back on a shadow of myself, or at least the ideas and images that inspired me at the time.”

Featured Image by Emily Shull ’25