Annual Literature &… Conference spotlights student passions, connections, love for writing


Photo credit: Ella Schwartz

Senior Stella Lyne presents “The Gaze vs. Gays: Understanding the Subject-Object Relationship Within Lesbian Film,” a presentation under the theme of works examining identity. Archer’s 15th annual Lit &… Conference was held in the library Friday, March 10, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

By Audrey Chang, Editor-in-Chief

“Stereotypical Tropes: The Distinct Portrayal of Race in Two Groundbreaking Horror Films.” “A Hebenon in a Hat: White Supremacists’ Appropriation of Nordic Mythology.” “Miss America: Beauty and the American Dream.” These are a few of the diverse titles of students’ presentations for Archer’s 15th annual Literature &… Conference. 

The goal of this Los Angeles conference is for students to engage in purposeful dialogue and share unique perspectives about literature in connection with another discipline — whether music, art or movies — and explore its importance in the world. The conference was held Friday, March 10, in the library from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The conference featured 24 presentations from 28 students — six students from Archer and the rest from other schools around Los Angeles, including Loyola High School, Windward School and Granada Hills Charter. The conference primarily featured the work of juniors and seniors, but freshmen and sophomores were invited to submit.

Upper school students were invited to attend when they were not in class. Some classes attended the conference in lieu of a  traditional class period, and many English classes, in particular, took the period to watch. In addition to students, the audience included parents of presenters, English teachers from Los Angeles schools and other Archer community members.

The conference was organized into six panels, each representing a different theme: social and cultural critique, race, examination of identity, gender and patriarchy and America, culture and postmodern perspective and poetry.

Seniors Isabelle Verdery, Cadence Callahan, Greta Irvine, Sogna Louie and Eliza Tiles were on the Literature &… Leadership Team and selected the featured works for the conference. Each member also introduced the speakers and moderated the Q&A portion for one panel. Verdery was the student coordinator and has been delegating tasks for reviewing submissions, working on outreach to participants and helping decide which pieces belong to which theme.

“Finalizing the choices really comes down to what works fit best in what themes and what themes we want to highlight in the conference because it does change every year,” Verdery said. “We also have an entire panel just dedicated to poetry, which I think is really really cool. Last year, I don’t think there was one … This year, we really wanted to incorporate not just analytical papers — we wanted to spotlight more creative works.”  

The groupings in the panels make for some interesting intersections between the different presentations, and there’s a Q&A after each one. And that’s one of my favorite parts of the day is these questions, these Q&A’s, where they interact with each other and their audience ask questions.

— Faculty Adviser Brian Wogensen

Faculty adviser Brian Wogensen and the Literature &… Leadership Team began meeting during first semester to reach out to a variety of schools. As the school year progressed, their meetings focused on what the structure of the conference would look like. Wogensen said that a common theme in this year’s submissions was more attention to the current political sphere, and Verdery also agreed there were many pieces on social commentary.

“What’s interesting to me is every year, what the panels are is really defined by the submissions and the ones that get chosen, and so you get a sense of what high school students are thinking about, like what’s on their mind [and] what are things that they’re studying in their different schools,” Wogensen said. “The groupings in the panels make for some interesting intersections between the different presentations, and there’s a Q&A after each one. And one of my favorite parts of the day is these questions — these Q&A’s, where they interact with each other and their audience ask questions.” 

Junior Nita Kelly presented on the first panel for works centered on social and cultural critique. She presented a rhetorical analysis of Ai Weiwei’s “No, Capitalism and the Internet Will Not Free China’s People.” Kelly said the main part of the process was thinking about how her essay would translate into a more digestible presentation format.

“I’m learning more about how to present a piece like that in in a group setting because I’ve been submitting a lot of essays to writing competitions and things like that, but it’s not necessarily the same as structuring it so that people can understand it,” Kelly said. “I also think that one of my favorite parts about Lit &… is just the fact that it’s regional — there’s so many people from all these different schools that are coming together, and there’s so many different topics. And it’s by no means something that’s in one category, or there’s not just one prompt that people are answering, but it’s all these topics.” 

Verdery said one of her favorite parts of the conference was reading a diverse range of submissions and getting to help coordinate a space where people who are passionate about literature and its connections throughout various topics can share their work.

“Everyone’s so passionate about what they wrote about, so you can really see how that shines through in their writing,” Verdery said. “I just love the conference because it does a great job of spotlighting humanities, the arts, writing … I think it’s really important to have a space where all these like-minded people can come share our passions.” 


Additional Reporting by Sports Editor Surya Patil (’25).