Kelly to pursue writing career

English teacher Ariana Kelly, who has taught at Harvard-Westlake for six years, has received a book deal and will not teach at Harvard-Westlake the next school year.

Her book, which might be titled “The Phantom Phone Booth,” is a “collection of lyrical essays about developing ideas around privacy, freedom, power, sanctuary and communication,” she said.

The book, which Kelly is still in the process of writing, will be published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

When Kelly found out in January that her book would be published, she decided not to return to Harvard-Westlake for the next school year in order to continue writing.

“I didn’t think I could teach and write at the same time given how demanding both teaching and writing are,” Kelly said.

Her book is an expansion of an essay she published in Los Angeles Review of Books and Salon, titled “The Phantom Phone Booth.” The essay explores the phone booth from the perspectives of religion, film and literature to see what it can show about isolation and communication and what people need for privacy.

“I’m both sad and excited,” Kelly said. “I enjoy teaching — it’s challenging and rewarding and the students bring a lot of laughter to my life — but I’m also thrilled to explore unknown territory.”

Along with her book, Kelly is also writing a series of essays with topics such as rural New Hampshire, chairlifts and the MARS explorer program.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Kelly said. “I would love to be a full-time author, but it’s a very difficult thing to do. Most likely I will try to balance writing with some kind of work in education.”