On Friday, February 22, Gunston will host two writers, Nomi Stone, a poet and anthropologist, and Rose Skelton, a fiction writer and journalist. The day will begin at 8:15 in The Field House, where Stone and Skelton will be in conversation with English Department Chair Amanda Newell, English teacher Morey Weimer, and Orion McCluskey, who is an editor for the school's Effectrix literary magazine. The event is open to the public. In addition, The Bookplate (from Chestertown) will be bringing from their collection books specially selected for our students. The books will be available for purchase throughout the day in a bookfair-style format...
In Celebration of Books
April 7, 2020
Featured Speaker: Elizabeth Rush
Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore and Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar. Her work explores how humans adapt to changes enacted upon them by forces seemingly beyond their control, from ecological transformation to political revolution. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and the New Republic, among others.
In 2019, she served as the Antarctic Artist and Writer in Residence for the National Science Foundation. As such, she had been extended a singular invitation to join scientists from the United States and Great Britain aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer for a 50+ day scientific “cruise” to the Thwaites Glacier, one of the most remote regions in the world.
The remote location makes conducting research on the glacier both difficult and of vital importance. To date, only 28 people have ever stood atop Thwaites. As a member of the International Thwaites Collaboration, Rush accompanied three research teams as they investigated how quickly Thwaites has retreated in the past and how quickly it is retreating now. Nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier” by the news media, Thwaites’ deterioration destabilizes the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is one of the largest potential contributors to sea level rise. The very rate at which Thwaites is melting will play a large role in determine the future of our coastal communities.
Rush is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including the Howard Foundation Fellowship awarded by Brown University, the Society for Environmental Journalism Grant, the Metcalf Institute Climate Change Adaptation Fellowship, and the Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. From 2015-2017 she served as the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Bates College (2015-2017). Today she teaches creative nonfiction courses at Brown University that carry the environmental sciences and digital technologies into the humanities classroom. Recently her students interviewed fishermen in the Narragansett Bay whose lives and livelihoods are being transformed by changes in the environment.
Rush has taught at the City University of New York and Southern New Hampshire University. She received her BA in English from Reed College and her MFA in Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University.
At Gunston, we believe in the transformative power of language and the study of writing as craft. Our In Celebration of Books program is one way that we instill these values in our students. Each fall, winter, and spring, we invite a writer of local, regional, and national prominence to our campus. Consistent with our mission of educating “ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society,” the program features authors from all fields and disciplines. In addition to a public reading or talk, each guest also visits the classroom, where students have the unique opportunity to interact with them in a highly-personalized environment. These intensive workshops nurture students' creativity and inspire intellectual conversation as students learn to identify their passions, reflect on their core beliefs, and consider their role in the local and global communities.
For nearly three decades, In Celebration of Books has been a revered tradition at Gunston. It began in the boarding school days, where teachers would dress as their favorite authors. In time, the program evolved into a full day of workshops and readings that brought as many as twelve renowned writers to campus. Our current format is designed to provide students with consistent exposure to living writers, whose areas of expertise align with our curricular programming. Over the course of their four years at Gunston, students can expect to hear a diverse array of voices, from journalists and novelists to poets, historians, environmentalists, and other scientists.
Gunston has hosted such notable writers as the late Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Richard Ben Cramer; Nathaniel Philbrick, National Book Award winner for In the Heart of the Sea; the former poet laureate of Maryland, Michael Glaser; Tom Horton, author of numerous books about the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay region; and poet Nick Flynn, whose memoir was the basis for the film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro.
On Friday, October 26, the poet Nancy Mitchell will visit Gunston as part of its In Celebration of Books program. Mitchell, a poet and Pushcart Prize winner, is the author of the recently released collection, The Out of Body Shop (Plume Editions). In addition, she will be visiting ninth grade English classes, where she will lead creative writing workshops...
On Friday, October 27, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author with Brian Swimme of Journey of the Universe (Yale UP, 2011) will be visiting Gunston for the fall installment of the school's In Celebration of Books program. Journey of the Universe was the 2017 Gunston community summer read...
On Friday, October 28th, a distinguished panel will gather at Gunston for "Electing the President: A Conversation," a special election edition of its annual In Celebration of Books program, which will begin at 8 a.m. in the Field House. Headmaster John Lewis, who teaches American Government, will moderate as guests weigh in on the history, politics, demographics, and theater of presidential elections in the United States...