September 2018

Saturday, 9/1

Sunday, 9/2

Monday, 9/3

Tuesday, 9/4

Wednesday, 9/5


6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin

In Who Will Speak for America?, edited by Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin, 40 novelists, essayists, poets, and artists confront the political division heightened by the Trump presidency and imagine a just future for the USA. Contributors to Who Will Speak for America? are passionate and justifiably angry voices providing a literary response to today’s political crisis. Inspired by and drawing from the work of writers who participated in nationwide Writers Resist events in January 2017, this lively volume provides a collection of poems, stories, essays, and cartoons that wrestle with the meaning of America and American identity.

CYNTHIA ARRIEU-KING is an associate professor of creative writing at Stockton University and a former Kundiman fellow. Her books include People Are Tiny in Paintings of China (2010) and Manifest (2013), winner of the Gatewood Prize, selected by Harryette Mullen. She edited the “Asian Anglophone” edition of Dusie in 2016.

CYNTHIA ATKINS is the author of Psyche’s Weathers (2007), In The Event of Full Disclosure (2013), and a manuscript in progress, “Still-Life with God.” Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Apogee Journal, Bomb, Cleaver Magazine, Del Sol Review, Diode, Entropy, Expound, the Florida Review, Green Mountains Review, North American Review, Seneca Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Tampa Review, Thrush, Tinderbox, and Verse Daily. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she has received prizes and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Writers at Work. She teaches creative writing at Blue Ridge Community College and lives on the Maury River in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

HERMAN BEAVERS is professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in African American literature and creative writing. His books include a scholarly monograph, Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison (2018) and a chapbook, Obsidian Blues (2017).

STEPHANIE FELDMAN is the author of the novel The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov's Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

LIZ MOORE is the author of the novels The Words of Every Song (2007), Heft (2012), and The Unseen World (2016). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in such venues as Tin House, the New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. A winner of the 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, Liz lives in Philadelphia, where she is writer in residence in Temple University’s MFA program in creative writing.

CYNTHIA DEWI OKA is a poet and the author of Salvage (2017) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (2016). A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Guernica, the Massachusetts Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her work appears in Best of Kweli (2017) and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism (2018), among other anthologies. She has received the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, scholarships from Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont Studio Center, and the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award. Originally from Indonesia, she currently works as an organizer with immigrant communities in Philadelphia.

NATHANIEL POPKIN is the author or co-author of five books, including the novel Everything is Borrowed and Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple). He is a literary critic and essayist whose work appears in the Wall Street Journal, Kenyon Review, and other publications. He is the fiction review editor at Cleaver Magazine.

MARC ANTHONY RICHARDSON received his master of fine arts degree from Mills College. He is an artist and writer from Philadelphia. Year of the Rat (2016), his debut novel, was the winner of the 2015 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2017, it received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, founded by Ishmael Reed. He also was the recipient of a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright fellowship and a Vermont Studio Center residency. Currently, he is writing “The Messiahs,” a work of speculative fiction that takes place in a possible America where you can take on the capital punishment of a relative, a derivative of the Native American blood law.

CARLOS JOSÉ PÉREZ SÁMANO is a literary fiction and nonfiction author and a teacher of creative writing workshops in Mexico, the United States, Kenya, and Cuba. He has four published books in Spanish and is the recipient of the Ad Zurdum Publishing House’s Best Seller award. His work has been featured in more than twenty international magazines, including Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Errr Magazine, Quinqué, Poetry in Common, and Cultura Colectiva. He is pursuing a master of fine arts in creative writing and a master’s in publishing at Rosemont College. Find him on Twitter @carlosjoseperez.

FRAN WILDE is the author of several novels and short stories that have been nominated for Nebula Awards and a Hugo Award, including her Andre Norton Award– and Compton Crook Award–winning debut novel, Updraft (2015); its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017); and the novelette The Jewel and Her Lapidary (2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s Science Fiction,, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including the Washington Post, Clarkesworld Magazine, io9, and GeekMom. You can find her on Twitter, on Facebook, and at

Thursday, 9/6

Friday, 9/7

Kelly Writers House Activities Fair

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM in the garden

The Kelly Writers House Activities Fair is an opportunity for new and returning students to learn about student-led Writers House activities and initiatives, including magazines, podcasts, writing groups, community outreach, zine making, film production, and more. Stop by for snacks — and to chat with student leaders and representatives of Curiouser, DoubleSpeak, Excelano, The F-Word, Impact, the Moviegoer, Penn Appetit, Radical Tea, The Robinson Press, Write On!, and others.

Saturday, 9/8

Sunday, 9/9

Monday, 9/10

Tuesday, 9/11

Wednesday, 9/12

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, 9/13

Careers in Journalism & New Media

Jill Castellano (C'16), Jess Goodman (C'12), and Ashley Parker (C'05) with moderator Stephen Fried (C'79)

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP to:
Co-sponsored by the Povich Journalism Program, The Daily Pennsylvanian, the Creative Writing Program, and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize

Our annual Careers in Media alumni panel — sponsored by KWH, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the Creative Writing Program, and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize — focuses on how you can prepare for first jobs and careers in print, broadcast and online media, publishing, and related fields, as well as how to make decisions about extracurriculars, internships and grad school in these areas. This year’s panel includes:

Jill Castellano is an investigative reporter and data analyst for inewsource. Castellano graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in psychology and criminology and was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian. She has interned at the New York Daily News, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Castellano was a Dow Jones Data Fellow in 2016 — its first class of data journalists. She was trained by data experts at the headquarters of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Columbia, Missouri, and spent the summer working as a data reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. In September 2016, Castellano joined The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as an investigations editor. She mentored reporters in the USA TODAY Network on data analysis and public records, and she collaborated with other newsrooms on data-driven enterprise stories. She was part of a team from the USA TODAY Network that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a project on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Jessica Goodman is a senior editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, where she oversees the Work + Play section. She and her team won a National Magazine Award in Personal Service for last year's package, How to Run For Office. Previously, she was a digital news editor at Entertainment Weekly and an entertainment editor at HuffPost. Jessica graduated from Penn's College of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism in 2013. While at Penn, she was the editor-in-chief of 34th Street Magazine.

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter at the Washington Post. She was part of the Washington Post team that won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting — for their look at Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. She was also part of the Post team that won a 2018 George Polk award for reporting on the same topic. Previously, she worked at the New York Times for eleven years, where she covered politics — Mitt Romney in 2012 and Jeb Bush and Donald Trump in 2016 — and Congress, as well as other things. She started at the paper as Maureen Dowd's research assistant. She has also written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Glamour, The Huffington Post, The Washingtonian, The New York Sun, Philadelphia Weekly, and Chicago Magazine, and is an MSNBC political analyst. She graduated from Penn in 2005, with a double major in English (creative writing) and Communications.

Stephen Fried (C ’79) is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Penn, and at Columbia (in the departments of journalism and psychiatry.) He is the author of seven acclaimed nonfiction books, most recently RUSH: Revolution, Madness and Benjamin Rush, The Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown). A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, his work has appeared in Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, and Philadelphia magazine. Fried lives in Philadelphia, with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Friday, 9/14

Saturday, 9/15

Sunday, 9/16

Monday, 9/17

Lunch with Maya Rao

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the KWH garden

RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)
Hosted by Dick Polman

Maya Rao is a D.C. correspondent for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Atlantic, Awl and Longreads. She is the author of the 2018 book Great American Oupost.

Planning Committee Meeting

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe


From the time of its founding in 1995-1996, the Kelly Writers House has been run more or less collectively by members of its community. Our original team of intrepid founders— the group of students, faculty, alumni, and staff who wanted to create an independent haven for writers and supporters of contemporary writing in any genre—took for themselves the name "the hub." "Hub" was the generic term given by Penn's Provost, President, and other planners who hoped that something very innovative would be done at 3805 Locust Walk to prove the viability of the idea that students, working with others, could create an extracurricular learning community around common intellectual and creative passions. To this day, the Writers House Planning Committee refers to itself as "the hub"—the core of engaged faculty, student, staff, and alumni volunteers from whom the House's creative energy and vitality radiates.

Tuesday, 9/18

A lunchtime reading and conversation with Ondjaki

12:00 PM in the KWH Garden

co-sponspored by: the Portugese Studies Program
RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)

Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola in 1977. He studied in Lisbon, Portugal, and is the author of five novels, three short story collections and various books of poems and stories for children. He has also made a documentary film, May Cherries Grow, about his native city. His books have been translated into eight languages and have earned him major literary prizes in Angola, Portugal, France, and Brazil. In 2008, Ondjaki was awarded the Grinzane for Africa Prize in the category of Best Young Writer. In 2012, the Guardian named him one of its Top Five African Writers.

Wednesday, 9/19

Thursday, 9/20

Friday, 9/21

Saturday, 9/22

Sunday, 9/23

Monday, 9/24

Dead Parents Society Meets Modern Loss

A conversation with Rebecca Soffer

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by Jamie-Lee Josselyn
RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)

Rebecca Soffer is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Loss, a publication and community offering candid original essays and resources on loss. She is also coauthor of Modern Loss: Candid Conversation about Grief. Beginners Welcome., which was published in January 2018 by Harper Wave and debuted as a #1 new release on Amazon. She is a former producer for the Peabody Award-winning Colbert Report. Rebecca is nationally recognized presenter on the topics of loss and resilience and has spoken at Chicago Ideas Week, Kripalu, The Commonwealth Club, and BinderCon. She has been published in a variety of media including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery29. She is a graduate of Emory University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Rebecca lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

LIVE at the Writers House

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration of the people of the Kelly Writers House and of WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Writers House airs a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest -- from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. "LIVE" is broadcast on WXPN. "LIVE" is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc and is produced by Alli Katz.

Tuesday, 9/25

David Bromige memorial reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Please join Jack Krick, Bob Perelman, Ron Silliman and several guest readers to celebrate the work and life of the late, great David Bromige with the launch of his if wants to be the same as is: The Essential Poems of David Bromige. With Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Steve Dolph, Ryan Eckes, George Economou, Rochelle Owens, Eli Goldblatt, Tom Mandel, Chris McCreary, Ariel Reznikoff, Frank Sherlock, and Orchid Tierney.

“The self to write about the products of the self which the self tries to make as selfless as possible, in order that they may be seen to come from the true self, by involving it with & invoking it for contiguous other selves (readers). The constantly shifting perspectives of the sentences. Even a lower limit, speech, & an upper limit, song, leads instanter to song –

                                     You make me dizzy Miss Lizzie”

                                                                         - David Bromige, “My Poetry”

Wednesday, 9/26

Thursday, 9/27

Brodsky Gallery Opening

Los voces de Maria

6:00 PM in the KWH garden

Las voces de Maria is a multimedia project, facilitated by writer Syra Ortiz-Blanes and photographer Cameron Hart, that profiles Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who came to Philadelphia after the storm. Part text, part video, and part photo, Las voces de Maria hands over to Puerto Ricans the opportunity to share their stories through different tools and mediums. Evacuees sat for hours with Ortiz-Blanes and Hart, unraveling their lives inside the gray spaces of local bureaucracies – nonprofit and governmental alike – which left them homeless, distressed, and hungry. They met in hotels, cramped basements, coffee shops, and the apartments and homes of relatives, friends, and strangers. They shared their stories, often for the first time, often when no one else had asked them or even understood them.

At least 4645 people passed away in Puerto Rico because of the hurricane, destroyed infrastructure, and government negligence. But the evacuees who came to Philadelphia also lost life as they knew it. Maria was deeply felt on both a personal and collective level. Las voces aims to reflect both the intimate and national losses. The cyclone’s survivors who are featured in the project come from all over the island and from all walks of life. Each piece provides people with the space to share their perspectives and opinions. Together, all the stories form a chorus on life before, during, and after the hurricane. This reconstruction of narratives, like the reconstruction of our island, is vital to our healing process.

Las Voces de Maria is dedicated to those who left, those who stayed, and those who will come back. And to Puerto Rico, which doesn't need to get back on its feet, because it never fell down.

Friday, 9/28

Saturday, 9/29

Sunday, 9/30