Literary Fest Features Dave Eggers, Goldie Goldbloom, Cris Mazza, and More

Aidan Sarazen and Grace Ebach A certain brightness in the dull midwinter months, Latin’s Literature Festival allowed the Latin community read and discuss the art of writing in unique and wonderful ways. Organized by the always comedic Mr. Tempone, this year’s LitFest gave students and faculty the chance to hear Goldie Goldbloom, Cris Mazza, Dave Eggers speak, and also provided a forum for the community to hear student and faculty readings. Latin’s first guest, Goldie Goldbloom, successfully provided the auditorium with a peculiar (yet amusing) story of an injured, deteriorating whale, followed by an even more amusing Q and A session. Goldie Goldbloom’s unusual sense of humor, combined with her energetic reading of her story, helped Latin’s Lit Fest to start with a bang. Next up on the Lit Fest agenda was the Latin faculty readings. On Tuesday morning during D block, Latin’s staff had an opportunity to share their writing. Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Joyce, and Mr. Graf were featured in this year’s faculty readings. All of the readings were extraordinary, demonstrating the sheer ability of the Latin staff. During Wednesday’s assembly, following the Latin faculty readings, another profound author came to speak. Her name was Cris Mazza, a prominent novelist who teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois. Although Mazza didn’t quite have that same aura of energy as Goldbloom, she was still able to successfully captivate the auditorium with her calm, yet powerful speaking voice. Mazza read one of her short stories, entitled What Satisfies Us, which is the first of ten of her collection of short stories from the 1980s. The fourth day of Lit Fest was all about Latin student readers. Mr. Tempone recruited some of his own students, while also taking students recommended by other English teachers. Writers included Freshmen Keegan Barone and Remy Dhingra, Sophomores Tanya Calvin, Jack Landsberg, Miya Coleman, myself (Aidan), and Lexi Bolandhemat, Juniors Maddie McArdle, Nathan Goldberg, and Affy Koungoulos, as well as senior Cam Arkin. Weaving ideas of family, language, shaving, and the meaning of love, these talented student writers told their stories through slam poems and short stories. After more questions and some group pictures, the student readers, vision partially hindered by the bright stage lights, walked out of the theater and resumed a normal day as if they hadn’t just been part of a special literary performance. On Friday, Mr. Tempone scheduled well-known author, Dave Eggers, to talk with students and staff. Eggers clearly felt welcomed by the Latin community, as he immediately began to complain about the traffic with a comical tone. He spoke about the challenges of an authorial presence when writing nonfiction, the process of writing a memoir, and researching for two of his pieces, What is the What and Zeitoun. Eggers’ warm personality allowed him to easily connect with the audience. The mind-blowing week of lit fest came to a close Saturday night, when members of the Latin community and their plus ones had the pleasure of hearing Rachel Stone read her poetry, Mr. Marshall read his prose, and the acclaimed writer, Dave Eggers, read letters he wrote to CEO’s in the guise of an Irish setter named Steven. Rachel’s mature verse and exquisite language blew everyone away, including Dave Eggers, who chuckled “Good God, Rachel” when beginning his talk. Mr. Marshall read various excerpts from his book, The Lost Work of Wasps, ranging from the lost four of hearts that magically disappeared from every deck of cards his family owned to Clark and Division, an ode-like piece devoted to appreciating the voice on the “L” train when it says, “Doors open on the left at Clark and Division.” His composition brought tears of laughter to the audience as he read it, and the adorably sweet introduction he received from his daughter Blair, who cleverly mentioned his blog at, made for a fantastic time. Finally, when Dave Eggers appeared from behind the velvet black curtain, he spoke of his gratitude for the Latin School, particularly for associating with a childhood love of his, whom he found that night perusing through old yearbooks. He spoke of his friendship with Mr. Tempone, and the foundation he started, 826 National, which provides free literary programs like tutoring to under-resourced communities. The night was odd and wonderful, filled with common themes of coffee and salt, touching stories of family, the awed Tempone scurrying to grab Dave a beverage, which Mr. Lombardo bragged to me was “his Pellegrino,” and tales of old Schwinn bikes that used to be manufactured in Chicago, but as well as awed, it was inspiring. We look forward to another successful LitFest next year, and until then, happy reading and writing to you all!]]>