How to participate

All you need is an email account, and a willingness to engage in free and perhaps free-wheeling discussion of an interesting book, set of short stories, or poems, with a member of Penn's faculty or a member of the Kelly Writers House community.

In addition to our former students, we invite any member of our Writers House community to participate. This includes Penn alumni, current and former Penn parents, current and former ModPo participants, current and former Penn faculty and staff, and current and former Writers House Hub members.

To join, simply send a message to Please supply the following information:

How groups work

Our book groups use listservs - electronic mailing lists - to facilitate a group discussion using plain email. Longer, month-long groups will use Google Groups in order to give participants the option to participate by web instead of by email if they prefer. Discussion leaders pose a few questions to get the conversation going, and then some or many of the participants reply by email with responses and further questions. Participants can read email and participate whenever they want. Some participants check and respond once a day - first thing in the morning or right before bed at night - and others respond throughout the day. This format enables participants to be as "vocal" or as quiet as they would like. It has worked very well over the years.

Friends of the Kelly Writers House

Participants are encouraged to support the Writers House as a writing-arts collaborative and student-centered learning community by becoming a "Friend of the Writers House" through a $20 tax-deductible gift to Kelly Writers House program endowment fund. Checks should be made out to the "Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania," and mailed to:

Kelly Writers House
3805 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6150
Attention: Online Book Groups

(For much more about the innovative Kelly Writers House, a student-conceived learning community that functions at Penn as a home for creativity and educational innovation- part-classroom, part-salon - see

Our discussion groups are made possible by a generous grant from David Roberts (W'84).