April 2018

Sunday, 4/1

Monday, 4/2

Tuesday, 4/3

A Conversation with Travel Writer Rolf Potts

Creative Ventures program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Jamie-Lee Josselyn
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Rolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, The New Yorker, Outside, and the Travel Channel. More than twenty of his essays have been selected as “Notable Mention” in The Best American Essays, The Best American Non-Required Reading, and The Best American Travel Writing. He has lectured at venues around the world, including the Paris American Academy, Yale, and here at Penn, where he was our 2011 ArtsEdge Resident. He is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, has been through twenty-eight printings and translated into several foreign languages. His newest book, Souvenir, will be published by Bloomsbury in March of 2018.

A conversation with Ramita Navai

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Middle East Center

hosted by: Fatemeh Shams

Ramita Navai is an award-winning British-Iranian journalist and author. She has reported from over thirty-five different countries and has a reputation for investigations and work in hostile environments. As well as making twenty documentaries for Channel 4's Unreported World, she has reported for the United Nations in Pakistan, Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran and was the Tehran correspondent for The Times from 2003 - 2006. In 2012 she won an Emmy award for her Frontline PBS documentary Syria Undercover. Her news feature for Channel 4 News - Tracking down the Refugee Kidnap Gangs - won a 2016 Royal Television Society Journalism Award and won the Foreign Press Association News Story of the Year Award. Her most recent documentary is on Iraq and will be broadcast in March 2017 on Frontline PBS and Channel 4's Dispatches. Navai's first book, City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran won the Debut Political Book of the Year at the 2015 Political Book Awards, and was awarded the Royal Society of Literature's Jerwood Prize for non-fiction. It has been translated into five languages. She is also a contributing author to Shifting Sands: The Unravelling of the Old Order in the Middle East (published in the UK and US).

Wednesday, 4/4

Billy Wayne Davis & Aparna Nancherla, with Lew Schneider

Stand Ups Sit Down

5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: mingo@writing.upenn.edu
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

“Stand-Ups Sitdown” is an annual series that features stand-up comedians in conversation with eminent TV comedy writer (and Penn alumnus) Lew Schneider.

Originally from Crossville, TN, Billy Wayne Davis is a stand-up & writer who has performed in 41 states, 4 countries and Texas. He has appeared on Conan, NBC's Last Comic Standing, WTF with Marc Maron, Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, voiced multiple characters on Adult Swim's SquidBillies, hosted a Morgan Spurlock documentary for CMT, named a 2015 Fresh Face by the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, opened for Grammy winning badass Sturgill Simpson's 30 city Living the Dream Tour, and just released his second comedy album with Jack White's label, Billy Wayne Davis: Live at Third Man Records.

Writer, comedian, and actor, Aparna Nancherla is a series regular in the debut season of Comedy Central's Corporate and has reprised her role in season 2 of HBO's Crashing. Other TV credits include Master of None, High Maintenance, Inside Amy Schumer, and I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman. Her TV writing credits include Late Night with Seth Meyers and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. She is also an alumna of the NBC Stand Up for Diversity program and currently headlines throughout the world and has been seen at a number of festivals including Comedy Central's Clusterfest, Portland's Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Moontower, SF Sketchfest, DC's Bentzen Ball, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo and Dublin's Vodaphone Comedy Festival. Aparna's been featured on and in NPR, Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post magazine, XM Radio, and Slate V. She can regularly be seen performing at the Upright Citizen's Brigade's in LA and NYC. Her debut album Just Putting It Out There was released in July 2016 by Tig Notaro's label Bentzen Ball Records and hit the #4 on Billboard Comedy Charts.

Lew Schneider (C'83) is a writer, producer, and director of the ABC comedy, The Goldbergs. Other credits include his own HBO stand-up special, and the primetime shows American Dad, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Men of a Certain Age (which won a Peabody Award but very few people watched), and Everybody Loves Raymond (which won Emmy Awards and more people watched).

Thursday, 4/5

We Have Always Lived in the Castle Marathon reading

3:00 PM (and on!) in the Arts Cafe

This year's marathon reading book is Shirley Jackson's mystery classic We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Yes! Starting at 3:00 PM and continuing until it's done, we'll read the book from start to finish. To help celebrate the book, we'll decorate the KWH to reflect the lonely small-town estate in Vermont at the center Jackson's novel and we'll cook and serve food from the book (including from the final fateful meal). If you'd like to participate as a reader, please email wh@writing.upenn.edu. to sign up for your ten-minute slot!

Friday, 4/6

Saturday, 4/7

Sunday, 4/8

Monday, 4/9

Lunch with Chris Ludovici

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program

Hosted by Karen Rile
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Chris Ludovici has published articles in The Princeton Packet, the Penn Gazette, Cinedelphia, Cleaver Magazine, and Forces of Geek. His fiction has appeared in print in Peregrine and online at Cleaver. In 2009, he won the Judith Stark awards in fiction and drama. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife, son, and not enough cats.


Hub Meeting

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

Join us for a meeting of the Hub, the core of engaged faculty, students, staff, and volunteers who help make things happen at Writers House. Anyone is welcome to become a Hub member by participating in Hub activities and helping out. Members of the Hub plan programs, share ideas, and discuss upcoming projects.

Tuesday, 4/10

Brooke Borel: The Art of Fact-Checking

Applebaum Editors and Publishers series

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Julia Bloch and the members of The Art of Editing
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

In our supposedly "post-fact" world, is there still a place for the editorial art of fact-checking? Or is the practice simply more urgent now than ever? In her authoritative guide to the field of fact-checking, Brooke Borel reminds us that the sentiment that we need fact-checking now more than ever has been heard before - certainly in earlier eras of journalism, before the digital age, and possibly all the way back to the invention of the printing press. Borel reminds us that "If journalism is a cornerstone of democracy, then fact-checking is its building inspector": and yet, fact-checking is not always taught in journalism programs, and tends to land on the chopping block at cash-strapped publishing outlets. In this conversation with Borel, Julia Bloch and the members of her Art of Editing class will discuss the tools of the trade, its historical and current urgencies, and what writers, editors, and of course readers - not just of journalism, but even of fiction, poetry, and other forms of writing - could stand to learn from the "reality check" that fact-checkers provide.

Brooke Borel is a journalist and author. She has written on everything from particle physics to the seedy world of cannabis pesticides to the history of fake news for the likes of Popular Science, the Guardian, the Atlantic, BuzzFeed News, FiveThirtyEight, Scientific American, and Undark magazine. She is a contributing editor at Popular Science and an editor-at-large at Undark. Both the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have supported her work. She teaches writing workshops at New York University and the Brooklyn Brainery. Her books are Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World and The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, which Library Journal named one of the best reference books of 2016. And her new podcast is Methods, a show about how we know what we know.

A reading by poet Eduardo Espina

Writers Without Borders

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Charles Bernstein
watch: video recordings of this event: Reading, Close Listening
listen: audio recordings of this event via PennSound: Reading, Close Listening

EDUARDO ESPINA is one of the most original and influential contemporary Latin American poets. He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Doctoral theses have been written about his poetic works, and extensive academic articles have been published in prestigious academic journals such as Revista Iberoamericana and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. Espina's poetry is studied in universities in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, and his poems have been translated partially to English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Albanian, Dutch, Chinese and Croatian. He is included in more than 40 anthologies of international poetry. In 1980 he was the first Uruguayan writer invited to participate in the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has lived in the United States since then. A writer with cult status, Espina has published a dozen books of essays and poetry and was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives and works in College Station, Texas.

Wednesday, 4/11

LUNCH WITH ALEC MACGILLIS

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by Dick Polman
RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215)-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

ALEC MACGILLIS covers politics and government for ProPublica. MacGillis previously spent three years writing for The New Republic, five years as a national reporter for The Washington Post, and five years at The Baltimore Sun. He won the 2016 Robin Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, the 2017 Polk Award for National Reporting, and the 2017 Scripps-Howard Award for Topic of the Year. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic, New York, Harper's, and New York Times Magazine, among other publications. A resident of Baltimore, MacGillis is also the author of The Cynic, a 2014 biography of Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

Our student-run open mic night welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your stand up comedy to share.

Thursday, 4/12

A conversation with Patterson Hood

Hosted by Anthony DeCurtis

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP to reserve your seat: wh@writing.upenn.edu

Patterson Hood is a prolific writer and performer whose character-driven stories are packed with political subtext. He is best known as front-man, singer, songwriter and guitar player for the critically acclaimed rock and roll band Drive-By Truckers, but is also a writer of essays, columns and short stories. In the past few years he has written an op-ed on the on-going controversies surrounding the confederate flag for The New York Times Magazine, a piece on Vic Chesnutt for The Oxford American's annual music issue, and retrospectives on David Bowie for American Songwriter and Merle Haggard for NPR. Most recently in October of 2016, Patterson published his first short story featured in The Highway Kind, a car-themed crime fiction anthology.

Drive-By Truckers have released 13 albums and played over 2,000 shows in the past nineteen years. They also released a 35-song, career-spanning box set in 2015 that was recorded live at The Fillmore in San Francisco. American Band, their most recent album released in the height of election season on September 30th 2016, takes their political undertones much closer to the surface than ever before. The album delves into matters that resonate deeply in divided America, including last year's massacres in Charleston, SC and Roseburg, OR; the death of Michael Brown; the continued controversy over the Confederate flag; and the roots of the National Rifle Association. According to Patterson, the track “What It Means” is the most blatant protest song on the record. “I look at that song as the beginning of a conversation that, perhaps, we all need to have. I think white people are afraid to talk about race. Maybe it's time for us to get past that, too,” he explained in an interview with CNN.

Praises have rolled in for “American Band” since its release. NPR has claimed it to be one of the best albums yet from Drive-By Truckers, deeming it “unapologetically progressive,” and “a poignant take on what it means to be an American in a time when uncertainty and fear are omnipresent.” Rolling Stone raves, “'American Band' comes from the very distinct perspective of a group that remains burdened by, and reckoning with, its own bloody southern history.” The record has been also been recognized on several 2016 year-end lists including The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, NPR, Uncut, and Entertainment Weekly.

In addition to his work with Drive-By Truckers, Patterson has amassed 3 solo albums and co-produced or played on additional albums by Bettye LaVette, Booker T. Jones and The Dexateens. As a speaker and lecturer, he has spoken and conducted classes at Princeton, The University of Indiana, The University of Georgia, and The University of Alabama. Earlier this year he spoke at the Frank and Kula Lumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and also delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of 2015 at the University of Northern Alabama.

Image credits: Andy Tennille

Friday, 4/13

Saturday, 4/14

Sunday, 4/15

Monday, 4/16

Dead Parents Society: a reading and conversation

Beltran Family Award program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: an audio recording of this event (Episode 2 of the Dead Parents Society podcast)

Dead Parents Society is a project that explores writing by those who have lost a parent at a relatively young age and that encourages conversation about the purpose of writing about such hardship, and also about the experience of reading such work. Can good writing also be therapeutic? Does writing about death always have to be sad? How do our past traumas shape our present perspectives? This reading will feature writers affiliated with the Penn and Writers House communities whose work has directly or indirectly been influenced by a parent's death. We promise this event won't be as sad as it might sound. And we'll have comfort food!

Tuesday, 4/17

How to Be a Doll: Drag and Writing

Junior Fellows Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

In the tradition of the uproarious theater of the Cockettes, the experimental verbal collages of Lypsinka, and the plays and poetry of Jackie Curtis, the Writers House brings you a night of drag queens writing, writers dragging, and all things words and wigs. Curated by the Kelly Writers House Junior Fellow of 2017-2018, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague, this event commissions four new performances by artists working at the intersection of these two ostensibly disparate fields.

Wednesday, 4/18

A poetry reading by Jehanne Dubrow

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Introduced by: Julia Dasbach

Jehanne Dubrow (http://jehannedubrow.com/) is the author of six books of poetry, including most recently Dots & Dashes, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017). Her previous books are The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern University Press, 2012), Stateside (Northwestern University Press, 2010), From the Fever-World (WWPH, 2010), and The Hardship Post (three candles press, 2009, Sundress Publications, 2013). She has co-edited two anthologies, The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume (Literary House Press, 2016) and Still Life with Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse (Literary House Press, 2014). Her first book of creative nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes, will be published by New Rivers Press in 2019.

Her poetry, nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in Southern Review, Pleiades, The New York Times Magazine, Southwest Review, The New England Review, as well as on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She earned a B.A. in the “Great Books” from St. John's College, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has been a recipient of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, the Towson University Prize for Literature, an Individual Artist's Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship and a Howard Nemerov from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a Sosland Foundation Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

About Dots & Dashes: “With Dots & Dashes, Jehanne Dubrow adds a sixth volume to our bookshelves of necessary poetry, and we are given a panoramic view of the landscape of marriage within the structure and confines of military life. This is a difficult and layered collection, one that refuses to avert its gaze from trouble in all its overt and nuanced forms. While these poems offer lenses into the interiority of an often closed-off world, the core experiences within these poems don't reside on military bases and in military life alone. Isolation, separation, the silences and failures of communication—Dots & Dashes is a series of messages called out over the waters of a life, a reminder that sailors are not always the ones who are lost at sea.” —Brian Turner

Image credits: Cedric Terrell

Thursday, 4/19

Writing & Teaching the Holocaust in the Age of Trump

Lunch with Jehanne Dubrow

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by Julia Dasbach
RSVP to: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215-746-POEM)

Jehanne Dubrow's first full-length collection, The Hardship Post, explores what it means to bear witness to atrocity endured by ones ancestors, addressing the Holocaust from the present moment and insisting on the need to keep returning to its unresolved past. Join us for a conversation with Dubrow about what it means to continue writing and teaching the Holocaust within the context of the current political climate, lead by Penn poet and scholar Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach.

Jehanne Dubrow (http://jehannedubrow.com/) is the author of six books of poetry, including most recently Dots & Dashes, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017). Her previous books are The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern University Press, 2012), Stateside (Northwestern University Press, 2010), From the Fever-World (WWPH, 2010), and The Hardship Post (three candles press, 2009, Sundress Publications, 2013). She has co-edited two anthologies, The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume (Literary House Press, 2016) and Still Life with Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse (Literary House Press, 2014). Her first book of creative nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes, will be published by New Rivers Press in 2019.

Her poetry, nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in Southern Review, Pleiades, The New York Times Magazine, Southwest Review, The New England Review, as well as on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She earned a B.A. in the “Great Books” from St. John's College, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has been a recipient of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, the Towson University Prize for Literature, an Individual Artist's Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship and a Howard Nemerov from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a Sosland Foundation Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

The daughter of American diplomats, Jehanne was born in Italy and grew up in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. She is an Associate Professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.

Image credits: Cedric Terrell

Alternative Theatre Festival Play Reading

Hosted by iNtuitons

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Founded in 1980, iNtuitons is Penn's one and only experimental theater group. Every year, iNtuitons hosts a Alternative Theatre Festival (ATF) to celebrate experimental plays by Penn student playwrights. Join us for a sneak peak at plays selected for the festival.

Friday, 4/20

A conversation with Divya Victor

Hosted by Laynie Browne

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM

Divya Victor is the author of KITH (Fence Books/ Book Thug), a book of verse, prose memoir, lyric essay and visual objects; NATURAL SUBJECTS (Trembling Pillow, Winner of the Bob Kaufman Award), UNSUB (Insert Blanc), and THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR MOUTH (Les Figues). Her chapbooks include Semblance and Hellocasts by Charles Reznikoff by Divya Victor by Vanessa Place. Her criticism and commentary have appeared in Journal of Commonwealth & Postcolonial Studies, Jacket2, and The Poetry Foundation's Harriet. Her work has been collected in numerous venues, including, more recently, the New Museum's The Animated Reader, Crux: Journal of Conceptual Writing, The Best American Experimental Writing, and boundary2. Her poetry has been translated into French and Czech. She has been a Mark Diamond Research Fellow at the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Riverrun Fellow at the Archive for New Poetry at University of California San Diego, and a Writer in Residence at the Los Angeles Contempo! rary Exhibit (L.A.C.E.). Her work has been performed and installed at Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Los Angeles, The National Gallery of Singapore, the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibit (L.A.C.E.) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Divya Victor is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Writing at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

Saturday, 4/21

Sunday, 4/22

Monday, 4/23

Reading by Charles M. Blow

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

This event is FULL.

Charles M. Blow is an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times where his column appears on Thursdays and Mondays. Mr. Blow's columns tackle hot-button issues such as social justices, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Mr. Blow is also a CNN commentator and a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale, where he teaches a seminar on media and politics.

Mr. Blow is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The book won a Lambda Literary Award and the Sperber Prize and made multiple prominent lists of best books published in 2014. People Magazine called it "searing and unforgettable."

Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper's graphics director, a position he held for nine years. Mr. Blow went on to become the paper's design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Mr. Blow had worked at The Detroit News.

Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children.

RSVP REQUIRED: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

Tuesday, 4/24

Brunch with Charles M. Blow

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

10:00 AM in the Arts Cafe

Charles M. Blow is an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times where his column appears on Thursdays and Mondays. Mr. Blow's columns tackle hot-button issues such as social justices, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Mr. Blow is also a CNN commentator and a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale, where he teaches a seminar on media and politics.

Mr. Blow is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The book won a Lambda Literary Award and the Sperber Prize and made multiple prominent lists of best books published in 2014. People Magazine called it "searing and unforgettable."

Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper's graphics director, a position he held for nine years. Mr. Blow went on to become the paper's design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Mr. Blow had worked at The Detroit News.

Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children.

RSVP REQUIRED: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

ZINE FEST

4:00 PM in the garden

Have a publication or zine you want to sell or trade? Come through to the Kelly Writers House first ever annual ZINE FEST, hosted by JACOB KIND and MAYA ARTHUR! Outside in the KWH garden, these two will be giving out and trading some of their own zines, with many more zines on display for perusal. Come for the food, the beautiful weather, the community, and for a special zine for seniors (with PennCard)! Bring your own publications and zines for sharing if you'd like, and, during the fest, community members are more than welcome to contribute to our ZINE FEST ZINE, a zine that Maya and Jacob are planning to make in only THREE HOURS (by 7 pm)! We are also able to print out additional copies of your own zines for you to sell or trade, as you wish. The deadline for sending in zines for printing is April 21st by noon to wh@writing.upenn.edu.

Wednesday, 4/25

Thursday, 4/26

Friday, 4/27

Saturday, 4/28

Sunday, 4/29

Monday, 4/30