Awards and fellowships

Beltran Family Teaching Award

2015-2016 Beltran Award: Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart is the author of 21 books of nonfiction, fiction, and fable. Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, named a best writing book by O Magazine, Poets & Writers, and others, won the 2013 Books for a Better Life Award (Motivational Category). Going Over, a novel of Berlin, was named a 2014 Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth and won the Gold Medal, Parents’ Choice Award, Historical Fiction, among other honors. Small Damages, a novel of southern Spain, was the 2013 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book, among other honors. Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River is an integral component in a William Penn Foundation-funded Philadelphia schools initiative. Kephart was one of 50 authors included in the 2013/2014 Philadelphia Literary Legacy Exhibition at Philadelphia International Airport and is a Radnor High School Hall of Famer, a National Book Award finalist, and a winner of the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. She has won grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Leeway Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She writes a monthly column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, is a featured reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, and runs an award-winning boutique marketing communications firm. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages.

2014-2015 Beltran Award: Michelle Taransky

Michelle Taransky is the author of SORRY WAS IN THE WOODS (Omnidawn 2013) and BARN BURNED, THEN (Omnidawn 2009), selected by Marjorie Welish for the 2008 Omnidawn Poetry Prize. A graduate of The University of Chicago and The Iowa Writers Workshop, Taransky has been a member of the Writers House community since 2008, when she moved to Philadelphia to work as Assistant to the Director. Currently, she is a Critical Writing Fellow at Penn, teaching writing seminars, and occasionally creative writing workshops, through the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. Since 2007, Taransky and Emily Pettit have coordinated the Whenever We Feel Like It reading series, which is archived on PennSound. Taransky’s poems have been anthologized in The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta Press 2012), Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare (Nightboat/Telephone 2012), Disco Prairie Social Aid and Pleasure Club (Factory Hollow, 2010) and The City Visible: Chicago Poetry For The New Century (Cracked Slab, 2007). With her father, architect and artist Richard Taransky, she co-authored the chapbook The Plans Caution, published by QUEUE books. Brave Men Press published No, I Will Be In The Woods in 2011.


2013-2014 Beltran Award: Anthony DeCurtis

Anthony DeCurtis is the author of recently published In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work, as well as Rocking My Life Away: Writing About Music and Other Matters. He is also the editor of Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture, and coeditor of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll and The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd edition). He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where his work has appeared for twenty-five years, and he occasionally writes for The New York Times and many other publications. His essay accompanying the Eric Clapton box set Crossroads won a Grammy Award in the Best Album Notes category. He holds a PhD in American literature from Indiana University.


2012-2013 Beltran Award: Karen Rile

Karen Rile is the author of Winter Music, a novel set in Philadelphia, and numerous works of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines such as The Southern Review, American Writing, Creative Nonfiction, The Land Grant College Review, Other Voices, and Apiary, and has been listed among The Best American Short Stories. Karen has written articles and book reviews for many publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Daughters magazine. She is a frequent contributor to the Pennsylvania Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a founding editor of Cleaver Magazine. Karen lives in Philadelphia and teaches fiction and creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania. For more information see her website.

For her Beltran Family Award project, Karen Rile organized a fine letterpress print edition of Sam Allingham's short story "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart." Designed and printed by Henry Steinberg (C'13), the book sold out immediately at its celebratory release party.