Get involved

There are many ways to become an active member of the Writers House community. Attend a reading in the Arts Cafe and stay for lively post-program conversation over homemade treats. Participate in a live KWH-TV broadcast or visit our multimedia archive to explore our vast collection of digital media. Join a reading or writing group that meets in one of our upstairs classrooms. Connect with fellow Penn alumni and families through our Alumni Online Book Groups. Support our mission as a Friend of the Writers House. We look forward to meeting you at the house where we can imagine, work, and learn together. Please explore the links to the left and below to find out how you can get involved.

attend a program

Tom Devaney chats with guests after his reading We produce over 150 programs and projects each semester. Our web calendar will link you directly to an up-to-date listing of our events, including group meetings scheduled in the upstairs classrooms.

Many of our events are organized or curated as part of ongoing series programming. View our series page and our annual programs page to find out about specific projects such as:


join our planning committee

The Writers House Planning Committee -- also known as "the Hub" -- is the core group of writers and writing activists who serve as idea-machine and collective steward of the House. Hub members get involved in planning at all levels of the Writers House project and any Penn-affiliated person is welcome to participate. If you're interested in joining the Hub, or to find out more, email Writers House Director Jessica Lowenthal, or simply come to one of our monthly meetings and introduce yourself. We'd love to have you!

Sean Breslin makes dessert for 7-Up on BitterCherry pie at the marathon reading of On the RoadEric Karlan at the creative writing contest winners readingSam Allingham and Erin Gautsche at the marathon reading of Lolita

join a reading or writing group

Writing and reading groups convene at the Writers House (in our upstairs classrooms and online) for free and freewheeling discussions about the full range of contemporary writing practice. Looking for a place to share your poetry? Writing a dissertation chapter about Virginia Woolf ? Working on a kids book and need some pointers? Visit our our reading and writing groups page to find information about reading and writing groups that meet here, many of which are run by volunteer coordinators.

opportunities for Penn students

Kaegan Sparks sets up a player piano for the KWH Art exhibit Are you paddling down the Mississippi? Investigating neurotheology or the "Ghost Army" of WWII? Hoping to start a magazine or invite your favorite author to Penn? Hoping for some funding to finance your radical idea? Along with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and the School of Arts and Sciences, we offer several prizes and awards designed to encourage and support student creativity. We pair talented student writers with mentors in all fields of writing through our Alumni Mentors program. RealArts is a summer internship project designed to help some of Penn's most creative students make connections in arts-related businesses such as Rolling Stone and MTV Networks. CPCW writing apprenticeships match talented students with faculty members, for in-depth involvement with current writing projects. The Writers House offers work study jobs and, with help from CURF, two summer internships, so that students can learn about Arts Administration from the inside.


publications and printwork

We provide meeting space in our Publications Room, web space, advice, and an occasional pizza for a number of Penn publications and editorial teams. Getting involved with an ongoing publication project -- whether as a writer, editor, or staff member -- is easy; simply consult the descriptions and contact information listed on our publications page.

Help with a Writing Outreach Project

WriteOn! tutee and tutor at the end of year celebration At the Kelly Writers House, we host several writing outreach projects. You could be a creative writing mentor for West Philadelphia middle school students through our student-run program, WriteOn!. You could help support our writing groups for trans and gender non-conforming youth, women in prison and people with a cancer diagnosis. We are also constantly developing new writing outreach projects and would welcome your ideas and energy. Email Student Outreach Coordinator Camara Brown if you want to get involved.

We also maintain relationships with local non-profit organizations aimed at empowering Philadelphia K-12 students and other groups through creative writing and tutoring. Consider becoming a writing workshop leader or after school mentor for such organizations as Mighty Writers or Philadelphia Futures. Email Camara Brown for more information about getting involved.


become a "Friend"

"Friends of the Kelly Writers House" help us protect, sustain and enhance the real achievement of this project. Friends give gifts that support specific projects or general programming, semester by semester. Friends' gifts have helped fund our Writers House Junior Fellows project, bought books for the library for several months, and paid for the coffee that is always percolating in the kitchen.

Audience for Art Spiegelman's Fellows reading, February 2008