Normally, when you ask people what they do, you get job titles. But for Sara Peck, the passions that drive and consume her life stretch far beyond a 9-5 job.
After experiencing Chicago’s endless winter during graduate school, she realized how much she missed the heart (and heat) of Charleston. Upon her return, Sara joined Blue Bicycle Books’ team, helping owner Jonathan Sanchez manage the shop, run the summer writing camp and organize nationally recognized young adult literature festival, YALLFest. If that’s not enough, Sara also teaches 6th-10th grade English at the University School of the Lowcountry. Did we mention she’s also working on her second published book of poetry in her spare time?
“If I wanted to, I could probably fill every minute of every single day with something...that’s maybe not normal,” she admits.
Regardless, the work that she’s doing is actively challenging the way young Charlestonians view writing. In her AP class, she’s built an entirely new curriculum that broadens her students’ literary scope by incorporating one dead author, one living author and one marginalized author into every unit they cover. Across all her classes, Sara’s enthusiasm is contagious and she jokes that her students are often stunned to see someone get genuinely excited about writing poems.
Sara is also working on a series tentatively titled Summer’s Too Hot To Share A Bed. “Every single poem is called 'Charleston' and it’s kind of about how we’ve developed this relationship with the weather here...how one moves through the weather of the city, what we pull through with us and what attaches to us as we’re moving through.” Through her poems, Sara’s breaking away from southern writing stereotypes and reclaiming what it means to be a southern female writer.
Sara Peck is the quintessential librarian, but don’t let that fool you, she’s pushing educational boundaries and introducing Charleston to a new kind of beach poem.
Words by: Charlotte Stack
Photographer: Olivia Rae James