Sierra Berkel, mentee
My name is Sierra Nicole Berkel. I am from Queens, and I am a senior at Townsend Harris High School. As a young girl I was always very thoughtful and inquisitive. As I grew older I began to write as a way to express myself and deal with things that I didn’t fully understand. I like to write in a variety of genres, including poetry and prose. My dream has always been to write a successful novel and have it published as a Bestseller. Playing basketball is another passion of mine as well. The opportunity writing gives me to be honest and creative keeps making my life worthwhile every day! As Sadie Delany once wrote, “Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.”
Katie Schmier, mentor
I’m Kate Schmier, and I’ve considered myself a writer since my best friend and I penned “A Hanukkah Carol” when we were ten. Writing has always been my way of being in the world. We're told, “Write what you know,” but lately, I find myself writing to learn about people and places that are unfamiliar to me. I received my MFA in fiction, but I also write personal essays and journalism. I’m a former Good Housekeeping magazine staffer, though I’m still not too handy with a Swiffer. I now write blogs, social media posts, and more for Phoenix House, a national addiction treatment nonprofit. My work has appeared at Tin House online, on The Huffington Post, and in Michigan Today. I’ve read at the Trumpet Fiction Series at KGB and at Sarah Lawrence College. When not writing, you’ll often find me at a jazz club, a devoted groupie to my boyfriend’s band.
This piece subtly distinguishes the differences between social class and race, through the struggle of a young man trying to find himself and carve out a future. Initially inspired by Toni Morrison's acclaimed short story, Recitatif, this piece combines the present with conscious memories to help characterize the obstacles faced. Combined with audio digital media.