NEHS Annual Author Visit

Katie Morgan, Staff Writer and Webmaster

On February 11th, Mepham’s National English Honor Society hosted its annual author visit where students are able to interact with published writers and learn about how they found success through publishing books along with the hardships they faced.

This year Mepham students welcomed Claribel Ortega, author of the graphic novel Ghost Squad which will be released on April 7th. Writing is just one of the many talents of Ms. Ortega: she also hosts a podcast called WRITEORDIE and is the owner of the small graphic design business GIFGRRL which creates apparel for writers and creators. It doesn’t end there ー Ortega manages all of this while still having a day job in marketing where she has the opportunity to travel the world.

Claribel Ortega certainly has many accomplishments to be proud of, but none of these came without struggle. Early in Ortega’s life, she had to deal with the passing of her brother, an event that changed her life and took a toll on her mental health. For years Ortega pushed away writing until she realized it was the only outlet she could use to address her complex emotions. The idea for Ghost Squad came from cultural beliefs her family had about death which she was able to write about since she had experienced such a loss. Ortega incorporated a lot of humor into her presentation while sharing her life story which helped the audience really empathize with her and engage in her background. Toward the end of her visit, Ortega mentioned that her graphic novel was in the works for becoming a movie, and she gave unique insight on an author’s role in a film when books become movies.

At the end of the event, the floor was open for questions, and one lucky student who entered a book raffle prior to the visit went home with an advance copy of Ghost Squad. Underclassmen who missed this year’s author visit should plan to attend next year for an exclusive event that not many people get the opportunity to experience. Be sure to keep an eye out for the release of Ghost Squad in movie theaters next year.

Photos by Eimaan Khan.