Agnes Scott Alumna Jacqueline Goldfinger featured as The Writers’ Festival’s 50th-Anniversary Writer-in-Residence 


Agnes Scott has hosted its annual Writers’ Festival since 1972 when former English Professor Bo Ball started the festival as an opportunity for students to listen to and work with celebrated authors. The centerpiece of the festival was then, as it is now, a writing contest open to students across the state of Georgia. The shifts the festival has  made over the decades—like adding the genres of creative nonfiction and dramatic writing to the extant categories in poetry and short fiction in the creative writing contest in the 1990shave been in the service of making writers more accessible to students and celebrating the capaciousness of writing and literature together.


In 2010, a unique feature was added to the Writers’ Festival: a minicourse, taught by a festival writer-in-residence. Each year, 15 Agnes Scott students get to work intensively with the visiting writer for a week or two. The course is open to anyone who has had at least one creative writing course. Many non-majors enroll in what has proven to be a very exciting and fulfilling opportunity. Writers’ Festival writers-in-residence have included Scott Russell Sanders, Danzy Senna, Joy Harjo, Cristina Garcia, Nick Flynn, Chris Abani, Dani Shapiro, Patrick Phillips, Mat Johnson and Nikky Finney. The festival provides students with life-changing encounters with the writers whose work they admire. In 2012, two students, Megan Cieri ’13 and Jiahui Zheng ’15, wrote about their experiences working and traveling with Poet Laureate Joy Harjo for the Writers’ Festival website. Harjo herself wrote about the experience in her collection “An American Sunrise” (2019)! 

For the first timeand in commemoration of the Writers’ Festival’s 50th anniversarythe festival will feature an alumna guest writer as our writer-in-residence in Jacqueline Goldfinger, ’00. Goldfinger, an award winning playwright, was a guest at the Writers' Festival in 2013 and 2017 and brings extensive teaching and mentoring experience that is fundamental for this residency. With an MFA from the University of Southern California and BA from Agnes Scott College, she teaches playwriting and dramaturgy classes and workshops around the country. In 2012, she co-founded The Foundry, a free three year playwrights lab for emerging playwrights in Philadelphia; the program continues today as part of PlayPenn’s Education Program. In 2017, she founded Page By Page, an inexpensive online resource for playwrights and new work makers, which now continues under the executive directorship of Rachel Lynett. She is a believer in lifelong learning, artistic evolution and making theatre accessible to all communities. Her Writers’ Festival course will focus on writing short plays and reading contemporary plays written by women.