Women’s Empowerment Writer Kirsten Smith to Give Commencement Address at Scripps College

CLAREMONT, Calif. (April 14, 2008) — Kirsten Smith, acclaimed screenwriter, poet, and novelist whose films focus on themes of female empowerment, will address Scripps College graduating seniors on Sunday, May 18, at 10 a.m. on Elm Tree Lawn.

Smith’s credits include Legally Blonde, Ella Enchanted, 10 Things I Hate About You (a remake of The Taming of the Shrew set in a modern-day high school), and the 2006 release She’s the Man, based on another Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. A much-published poet, she also has written a novel-in-verse about “girl power” and women’s rights, titled Geography of Girlhood, published by Little, Brown and Company in 2006.

As a student at Occidental College, Smith pursued poetry, her first love, and had her first poem published at age 19. Since then, more than 40 of her poems have appeared in literary magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Witness, The Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner. She has received numerous prizes for her work, including Nimrod‘s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry.

With characteristic humor, Smith says she finally realized she couldn’t make a living as a poet unless she were dead, and turned to movies, her other love. She attended NYU’s film program after graduating from Occidental, in 1992, and then worked at CineTel Films, where she received her first screen credit for a poem she contributed to the script of Poison Ivy 2. At CineTel, Smith met her screenwriting partner, Karen Lutz. Currently, they are writing a comedy for Paramount Pictures, to star Anna Faris.

Ashley Peters will also address the class of 2008 at commencement exercises as senior speaker. Chosen by her classmates, Peters recently completed her term as president of the Scripps Associated Students.