Writer/editor/music critic/professor Katie Moulton visited the Upper School on Thursday, October 27. The guest speaker was part of the A.J. Downs Writers at Work series, which brings professional writers to Gilman to speak at assembly, visit classes, and meet with faculty.
“I write a lot about being a young person,” she told the students at assembly before reading a chapter from her new audio memoir, “Dead Dad Club: On Grief and Tom Petty.” The chapter, which is called “Here Comes My Girl,” named for a Tom Petty song, talks about her father’s sudden death when she was 17, his funeral, and later, her mother’s wedding to her stepfather. Threaded through her stories are songs by Tom Petty that make an appearance in both predictable and unexpected ways.
After the reading, a few members of the audience asked questions. Tickner Writing Fellow Samuel Cheney wanted to know why Moulton writes so much about her teenage years. “The music and art we love when we are teenagers imprint us in a way that it never does again,” she said. “A lot of us love the same music we loved at that time in our lives. It’s a time when things are happening to us and we know they are happening.”
After assembly, a small group of students and faculty gathered in the Gilman Room for a more intimate conversation. They discussed Moulton’s process for writing album critiques (active, mindful listening to see the work of art within the culture and time that the artist lives in), the advice she would give her younger self (follow your interests without worrying about being good enough), and everyone’s thoughts on Taylor Swift’s new album, “Midnights” (varied, but mostly positive).
Learn more about Moulton at her website, katiemoulton.com and watch her assembly presentation below.