Journalist Alex Mar is Aspen Words’ first Writer in Residence this year. She doesn’t shy away from unconventional subjects.
Mar’s first book, “Witches in America,” profiles modern American pagans and practitioners of magic. She spent five years researching, spending time with Occult leaders and even participating in rituals. The experience forced her to wrestle with her own questions about belief.
Mar is a journalist, but her writing is personal. She’s honest about how affected she is by her subjects.
"When you’re writing about something personally evocative and potentially emotional as religious ritual, it doesn’t matter what community you’re studying, there isn’t really a way to be objective about it."
Mar has also published essays about the secret lives of nuns, mystical female leaders in early Christianity and sky burials, a Tibetan tradition that involves a body being consumed by vultures. During her Aspen Words residency, she’s working on her second book “Seventy Times Seven,” about the murder committed by one of the youngest female inmates on death row.
She has a very particular interest.
"I’m deeply drawn to individuals or communities that are tied together by a passionate belief system that places them outside of the mainstream."
Mar will talk about the different communities she’s written about, and read her work, at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar on Tuesday evening starting at 5:30 p.m.