Morissa Schwartz: Singer. Blogger. Author.
Drew professors sparked her passion for writing.
January 2016 – Morissa Schwartz—a singer, blogger and member of Drew’s Class of 2015—is now also a published author.
Schwartz, who graduated from Drew in just three years with an English major and writing minor, said getting published “was an absolute dream.”
She categorized her first book, Notes Never Sent, as “creative nonfiction.” In it, the message that everyone has a story to tell is conveyed through a series of interconnected stories. Those stories are told through poems, letters and traditional prose.
At Drew, Schwartz earned the John M. Warner Writing Internship in 2014 for her writing for Entertainment Weekly and other work, and landed the Chapman Prize in Poetry as a junior and garnered honorable mention as a senior for a piece that became part of Notes Never Sent. She also wrote for The Acorn.
Schwartz, who credits her professors and classmates with helping shape her, said she was able to read an excerpt from Notes Never Sent to peers during the Writers @ Drew Reading Series before getting published. “I got feedback from other students who read it when it was being written,” she said.
Beyond peers, professors were crucial to her success as a student and writer.
“Every professor was amazing,” she said, adding that she knew Drew was “unlike anywhere else” after being taught by the likes of Norman Lowrey, Wendy Kolmar, Patrick Phillips, Hannah Wells and Jocelyn Lieu.
Those professors, and others, encouraged Schwartz to chase her dreams of being a writer after she arrived at Drew without a major. She took political science classes early on and thought she’d pursue a law degree until receiving some advice from mentors.
“Then I got the drive from different professors, who said, ‘Hey, if you like writing, go for it,’” Schwartz recalled. “I became an English major because of that. Drew really encourages you to follow your passions.”
With a published book under her belt, Schwartz this year will focus on developing her newly launched publishing company, GenZ Publishing, whose mission is “helping young people get published.” She’ll also display her passion for singing with the release of an EP with pianist and composer Ian Green.
Regardless of where she goes next, Schwartz said she’ll “always be a Drewid no matter how long I’m away from there.” After all, she added, “Once you go to Drew, you’re always a part of that community.”