Alumni Visitors Series

May 11, 2013: Nick Spitzer

Nick Spitzer, host and creator of the radio show American Routes and 1972 Penn graduate with a degree in anthropology, joined us on May 11 as a part of our Alumni Visitors Series. He began his talk by explaining that he was drawn to radio as an undergraduate because of the intimacy it seeks with its listeners by way of live broadcasting, and because of its modern adaptation of a much older tradition of oral storytelling. Spitzer then focused his talk on the importance and connection of American “roots” and “routes” — roots being the spiritual and emotional art that represents the "soul" of a culture, and routes being the “metaphor of motion” that describes how such arts bring a people together. Throughout the event, Spitzer demonstrated the power of music in the American cultural imagination by playing short clips of blues, soul, jazz and pairing them with stories about musicians such as Ray Charles, Willy Nelson, and even Mayor Michael Nutter, and national catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina.

April 10, 2013: Ariel Djanikian

Ariel Djanikian graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and holds an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and daughter. The Office of Mercy is her first novel. www.arieldjanikian.com

February 20, 2013: Dan Fishback

2012-13 Penn ArtsEdge Resident Dan Fishback has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. Major works include The Material World (2012), thirtynothing (2011) and You Will Experience Silence (2009), all directed by Stephen Brackett at Dixon Place. Fishback has received grants from the Franklin Furnace Fund (2010) and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (2007-2009). He is a resident artist at the University of Pennsylvania (2012-2013) and at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics at NYU (2012), and has enjoyed previous residencies at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2010-2012), Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Also a performing songwriter, Fishback began his music career in the East Village's anti-folk scene. His band, Cheese On Bread, has toured Europe and North America in support of their two full-length albums, "Maybe Maybe Maybe Baby" (2004) and "The Search for Colonel Mustard" (2007), the latter of which was re-issued in Japan in 2010 on Moor Works Records. As a solo artist, Fishback has released several recordings, including "Sweet Chastity" (2005, produced by César Alvarez of The Lisps), and his latest, "The Mammal Years" (2012, produced by Casey Holford). He was a member of the movement troupe Underthrust, which collaborated with songwriter Kimya Dawson on several performances and videos. Fishback frequently teaches workshops on performance composition and queer performance culture. He blogs at thematerialworld.tumblr.com; his regular website is danfishback.com.

Max Steele is a performer and writer. He has presented work at the New Museum, Rapture Cafe, Deitch Projects, Envoy Enterprises, and the Queens Museum of Art. He writes the psychedelic porno poetry zine Scorcher, and is an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange.

Erin Markey creates conceptual musical performances for stage and video. She is the recipient of NYFA's 2012 Cutting Edge Artist Fund Grant, and has presented work at venues around the world, including Joe's Pub (The Public Theater), P.S. 122, San Francisco Film Society and The New Museum. She has toured the United States with the Sister Spit Tour and The Sex Workers' Art Show. Markey is a company member of Half Straddle, has performed in Young Jean Lee's Theatre Company and starred in the NYC premiere of Tennessee Williams' Green Eyes (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress).

February 6, 2013: Sensible Nonsense

In her eloquent introduction to this program Sensible Nonsense founder and former KWH work-study student Arielle Brousse reminded us of the legitimate artistry of our best-loved childhood stories — those books so captivating that you’d cart a picnic-basket’s worth of new ones home every week, so cherished that you thought about “losing” the library’s copy, or so resonant that you contemplated “potential misguided memorial tattoos” at the death of a favorite youth author. In this union of intelligent reflection and relatable nostalgia, it was clear that for these readers, children’s literature transcends its recommended age limits. Jess Bergman began with the origins of her love for “hurt-so-good catharsis,” The Velveteen Rabbit, while Isaac Kaplan invoked the power of oral storytelling by recounting his mother’s inventive “Pickle Car” saga about “an average, everyday, human-sized pickle” that just wanted to become a car. Chava Spivak-Brindorf traced her history of children’s-lit-derived lessons, lending insight into what Arielle called Chava’s “idealism that doesn’t wait around.” Victoria Ford described her very own “bad cases of stripes” (similar to the trials of lima-bean-loving Camilla Cream), and bonded with Penn professor Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve over South Carolina connections and young family members’ obsessions with Ninjago. The night concluded with an after-school-snack-laden reception. Get involved at http://sensiblenonsense.us.

February 5, 2013: Junior Fellow: Grace Ambrose

Junior Fellow Grace Ambrose invited 50 current and ex-Philadelphians to write about an object of their choice from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Taking shape as an edition of 50 postcards, the writings will comprise an alternate history and guide to the museum's holdings, seen through the eyes of the artists, writers, musicians, and friends who live alongside them. At this launch event, learn about the conceptualization of this project, mail art, and the history of the postcard. Grace's presentation will be followed by a reading by CAConrad of his poetry inspired by paintings on view in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Contributors to "A People's Guide" include the following and more: Sam Allingham, Lily Applebaum, Rayne Betts, Robyn Campbell, Anthony Campuzano, Kristina Centore, CAConrad, Johann Diedrick, Julia Factorial, Becket Flannery, Lucy Gallun, Thomson Guster, Dylan Hansen-Fliedner, Josh Herren, Alex Klein, James La Marre, Mary Lattimore, Trisha Low, Egina Manachova, Alexis McCrimmon, Mike Mckee, Max McKenna, Steve McLaughlin, Linda Pastan, Rachel Pastan, Molly Seegers, Jon Shapiro, Alex Tyson, Laura Reeve, Nicholas Salvatore, Ingrid Schaffner, Herb Shellenberger, Frank Sherlock, Henry Steinberg, Zoe Strauss, Valeria Tsygankova, Catherine Turcich-Kealey, Alejandro Valdes, Michael Thomas Vassallo, Adelina Vlas, Artie Vierkant, Jenna Weiss, Sara Wilson, Dan Yemin, and Jeffrey Ziga.

The JUNIOR FELLOW AWARD is open to any recently graduated Penn student, especially students who have been deeply engaged with Penn's writing community. If you are graduating from Penn this year, or if you have graduated from Penn in the last two years, please consider applying for this small but very sweet fellowship. For more information, please visit: http://writing.upenn.edu/wh/involved/awards/juniorfellow/#apply

December 6, 2012: PENN APPÉTIT 5TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

“It all started with my crush on Tom Devaney,” said Penn Appétit founder Emma Morgenstern at this celebration of the magazine’s fifth anniversary. It was in Devaney’s food writing class that the germ that sprouted Penn Appétit was planted for Morgenstern, whose reminiscences of photo shoots in “dirty, dirty Harrison” and moldy fudge hinted at the escapades and camaraderie that the PA staff shares. Since Morgenstern’s days, the magazine has garnered countless accolades – no surprise, said current editor Eesha Sardesai, “because everyone loves food” – thanks to an impressive lineage of editors-in-chief, all of whom returned for the night’s festivities. Following Morgenstern at the podium were Editor #2, Elise Dihlman-Maltzer, whose strategy was to make a point and retreat to let people get to the sensational reception food, and Editor #3, Alex Marcus, who, with a healthy dose of wonder, explained that not only does Penn Appétit surface in prospective students’ admissions essays, but that the food photographers at Cornell’s Crème de Cornell use “Penn Appétit” as an adjective to describe expert shots. The editors were reminded of the incredible talent that the magazine attracts as readings by Abigail Koffler, Monica Purmalek (reading Chelsea Goldinger), and Katie Behrman dazzled listeners with mouthwatering details on New York pizza, frozen chicken, and fresh French bread. Nicole Woon and Jillian De Filippo rounded out the literary portion with poems from multiple contributors on everything from the Lee Ahn Food Truck to the transcendence of Kool Aid, while Creative Director Maggie Edkins added that illustrations and cover photos associated with the magazine would be on display for all to salivate over.

November 15, 2012: Springsteen Fest

Al Filreis, Greg Djanikian, and Anthony DeCurtis join forces once again to bring us our second Song Symposium, this time on the works of Bruce Springsteen. One by one, this Writers House musical triumvirate and six of their friends will lead us through an analysis of a different song by New Jersey’s poet laureate. Like last year, you can expect a mix of crowd-pleasers and deep cuts as these nine cut loose and follow Bruce’s runaway body of work along all of its hairpin turns and detours, from Asbury Park to Nebraska, 57th Street to Highway 9.

October 27, 2012: Memoir Writing: Buzz Bissinger, Cynthia Kaplan, Beth Kephart, and James Martin

H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger is among the nation's most honored and distinguished writers. A native of New York City, Buzz is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the National Headliners Award, among others. He also was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is the author of four highly acclaimed nonfiction books: Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in August, and his newest, Father's Day, his memoir about his twin sons. Born 13 weeks premature in 1983 and weighing less than two pounds, Bissinger's sons have lived diametrically opposed lives. After obtaining his master's in education from the University of Pennsylvania, Gerry is now a public school teacher while Zach, because of oxygen deprivation at birth, suffered trace brain damage and struggles every day with enormous learning disabilities.

Cynthia Kaplan is the author of two collections of humorous essays, "Why I'm Like This: True Stories" and "Leave the Building Quickly." Her humor pieces have appeared in many newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She is the the co-host, with CBS Sunday Morning's Nancy Giles, of the comedy anthology series The New Jack Paar Show and has appeared in comedy and rock clubs throughout the country. She has written for film and television and recently released a comedy album, Fangry. She has never appeared on Law & Order.

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of fourteen books—five memoirs, a book of history and prose poetry, a corporate fable, and seven young adult novels. Three more books are set for release in 2013, including Handling the Truth (Gotham), a book about the making of memoir, and its consequences. Kephart teaches creative nonfiction at Penn during the spring semesters, is the strategic writing partner in a boutique communications firm, and reviews widely. Her book blog, beth-kephart.blogspot.com, has twice been named a top author blog by the BBAW. Her essays are widely anthologized. Kepharts most recent book, Small Damages, a novel set in southern Spain, was released this past summer by Philomel to starred reviews.

James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, contributing editor at America, the national Catholic magazine, and author of several books, including The New York Times bestseller The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and My Life with the Saints and Between Heaven and Mirth, both named by Publishers Weekly as "Best Books" of the Year. He is a frequent commentator in the media on matters of religion and spirituality, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared in venues as diverse as NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" and Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." Before entering the Jesuits in 1988, Father Martin graduated from Penn's Wharton School of Business and worked for six years in corporate finance. During his Jesuit training he worked at a hospice for the sick and dying in Jamaica run by Mother Teresa's sisters, with street-gang members in the housing projects of Chicago, and for two years in Nairobi, Kenya, helping East African refugees start small businesses.

October 3, 2012: A Performance by Caroline Rothstein

Caroline Rothstein is a New York City-based writer, performer, and eating disorder recovery advocate, who specializes in spoken word poetry, theater, creative nonfiction, journalism, and performance art. She has performed and facilitated workshops at poetry venues, theaters, colleges, universities, schools, and organizations around the United States for more than a decade. A longtime activist for eating disorder recovery, she hosts the widely viewed YouTube video-blog "Body Empowerment," sharing her own recovery story as a means to promote positive body image worldwide. Since 2000, she has served as a Resource Person for the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the NORMAL nonprofit organization. Her award-winning one-woman play "faith" about her experience with and recovery from an eating disorder debuted as part of Culture Project's Women Center Stage 2012 Festival, and received Outstanding Overall Production of a Solo Show in the 2012 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

Caroline was a member of the 2010 Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam team, which placed second at Poetry Slam Incorporated's National Poetry Slam 2010. A former member of and director for The Excelano Project, a nationally-acclaimed spoken word poetry organization at the University of Pennsylvania, she was the 2004 and 2006 UPenn Grand Slam Champion, a five-time College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational finalist, and helped coach the UPenn slam team to CUPSI championships in 2007 and 2009. Upon graduating in 2006, Caroline was honored for her work with an event in her name at the Kelly Writers House called "The Caroline Rothstein Annual Oral Poetry Event." As a poet and journalist, Caroline has been published in various literary journals, anthologies, and publications, and self-published three books of poetry: After Leo Tolstoy 2011), This Book Wrote Itself (2009), and What I Learned in College (2006). She has a B.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

September 19, 2012: Careers in Journalism and New Media

Ruth Davis Konigsberg (C'90): Senior Editor at Time magazine, author of The Truth About Grief (Simon & Schuster), former editor at Glamour and New York, and former contributing writer at Elle and New York Observer.

Matt Flegenheimer (C'11): reporter, New York Times; freelance writer, SportsIllustrated.com; Nora Prize winner.

Melody Kramer (C'06): associate producer, "Fresh Air;" freelance writer, National Geographic; former producer at "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me;" Kroc Fellow at NPR; Nora Prize winner.

Eliot Kaplan (C'78): executive director and talent acquisition for Hearst Magazines; former editor-in-chief Philadelphia magazine and managing editor GQ.

Stephen Fried (C'79): author; lecturer, CPCW; adjunct professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; former senior writer and editor, Philadelphia; former contributing editor Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, Ladies Home Journal.

September 11, 2012: New Queer Jewish Writing: Dan Fishback and Ezra Berkley Nepon

Dan Fishback (C'03) is the 2012-2013 ArtsEdge Resident at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. Major works include The Material World (2012), thirtynothing (2011) and You Will Experience Silence (2009), all directed by Stephen Brackett at Dixon Place. Fishback has received grants from the Franklin Furnace Fund (2010) and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (2007-2009). He is a resident artist at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics at NYU (2012), and has enjoyed previous residencies at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2010-2012), Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Previous works include No Direction Homo (P.S. 122, 2006), Please Let Me Love You (Dixon Place, 2006), Waiting for Barbara (Galapagos Art Space, 2006), boi with an i (Collective: Unconscious, 2004), and Assholes Speak Louder Than Words (Sidewalk Cafe, 2004). Also a performing songwriter, Fishback began his music career in the East Village's anti-folk scene. His band, Cheese On Bread, has toured Europe and North America in support of their two full-length albums, "Maybe Maybe Maybe Baby" (2004) and "The Search for Colonel Mustard" (2007), the latter of which was re-issued in Japan in 2010 on Moor Works Records. As a solo artist, Fishback has released several recordings, including "Sweet Chastity" (2005, produced by César Alvarez of The Lisps), and his latest, "The Mammal Years" (2012). He was a member of the movement troupe Underthrust, which collaborated with songwriter Kimya Dawson on several performances and videos. Fishback's essay, "Times Are Changing, Reb Tevye," was featured in the anthology "Mentsh: On Being Jewish & Queer" (Alyson Books, 2004). His visual installation, "Pen Pals," was featured in the 2011 Soho exhibition of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, for which he later served on the Selection Committee. Fishback frequently teaches workshops on performance composition and queer performance culture. He blogs at thematerialworld.tumblr.com; his regular website is www.danfishback.com. Before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Fishback wrote a weekly column for the Daily Pennsylvanian, was heavily involved in anti-war activism, and organized events at Kelly Writers House.

Ezra Berkley Nepon is a West Philadelphian writer, performer, and organizer. Nepon recently returned from an East and West Coast tour with her new book Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: A History of New Jewish Agenda, published by Thread Makes Blanket Press and distributed by AK Press. Other creations include the full-length play Between Two Worlds: Who Loved You Before You Were Mine which used themes from The Dybbuk to think about relationships between queer generations in the wake of the AIDS epidemic ("a love letter to the ghosts among us"), and Little Orphan Gender Revolutionary Annie – a 4-act song-cycle about the gender binary oppression of the girls' orphanage, told through toy theater/green screen magic. Nepon is pursuing an MA in Goddard College's Transformative Language Arts Program, and working on a thesis about New Yiddish Theater-maker Jenny Romaine and radical faerie theater-troupe The Eggplant Faerie Players. Visit: www.ezraberkleynepon.wordpress.com.

April 26, 2012: Genji Amino

Junior Fellow and Penn alum, Genji Amino came to the Writers House to read his poetry. Jessica Lowenthal's introduction focused on the competitiveness of becoming a Junior Fellow, the ways in which Amino's project was transformed from a discussion with Penn students to a conversation with Philadelphians, and on Amino's character as a man of communities and ideas. Amino's poetry reading toyed with language in unexpected and creative ways. As Lowenthal said of Amino in her introduction, a Junior Fellow prize is the Writers House's way of saying, "We want you to continue your writing life"; any reader of Amino's works would certainly say the same.

April 11, 2012: Travel Writing in the 21st Century: Rachel Friedman (C'03, G'07)

Distinguished travel writers David Farley, Matt Gross, and Penn alum, Rachel Friedman visited the Writers House to talk about travel writing in our modern world. The discussion was introduced and moderated by Penn professor and travel writer, Rolf Potts. These writers discussed their unique paths into travel writing, from books to freelance to individual areas of expertise they've honed throughout their journeys. Friedman, for example, took the "backwards" route, as she says: unlike many travel writers, she had her book, The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost, published before she went into freelance travel writing. The writers also chatted about the various misconceptions surrounding travel writers, the frugality travel writers come to know well, and the difficulties of traveling with other people when working on a creative piece.

April 9, 2012: Lew Schneider (C'83)

The Writers House was honored to welcome TV writer, Lew Schneider to the Kelly Writers House. Our own Kelly Diamond introduced him, noting that while he did not want to be framed as a Hollywood success story, she believes he's "pretty awesome". Schneider has won two Emmy awards, has twenty nine writing credits for Everybody Loves Raymond, and is a writer for the hit show, American Dad. Schneider spoke about his time at Penn, referencing that he ultimately "majored in Mask and Wig". He discussed his time practicing comedy, his move to Los Angeles, and the journey he took to becoming a sitcom writer. Joking on his path to success, in his own words: "if you love screwing around and you think you're great at it, sitcom writing might be the path". The audience had the treat of watching a few clips from Everybody Loves Raymond, as well as Schneider's commentary on how the writing process evolved for these hilarious episodes.

March 29, 2012: How to be a Famous Author: Lynn Rosen

Penn alum, Lynn Rosen visited the Kelly Writers House as part of the Kauders Series. Max McKenna introduced her, referring to her as a "book publishing guru", and noting her mentor-ship of young writers at the Writers House. Rosen spoke about her time spent as an editor, then a literary agent, then an editor again, then a writer, and so forth. After discussing all of the obstacles one faces as a writer, Rosen went on to share her coveted insights into the publishing world, in case, as she joked, she hadn't talked the audience out of becoming writers. She broke down the process a book goes through in publishing, beginning with the author and ending with the reader, in a practical chart for the audience to easily understand. Audience members asked many questions throughout the event, as they appreciated her candidness and useful advice on getting published.

March 27, 2012: Emergency Poetry Reading: Julia Bloch

Sarah Dowling introduced the last event in the Emergency Reading series. Penn alum and a founder of the Emergency Reading Series, Julia Bloch, was invited to share poetry from her book, Letters to Kelly Clarkson. Carolina Maugeri, an expert in mixed media art forms who Sarah and Julia had felt for a long time should be a part of Emergency Reading also read from her work, showing electronic slides of her poetry and art as well. A brief question and answer session followed, which noted both poets' dealings with pop culture, a mutual skepticism of American Idol, and an admiration for the each other's works. A gluten-free reception followed this insightful, memorable event, which concluded this important series in Kelly Writers House program history.

February 17, 2012: Howard Marks

Since the formation of Oaktree in 1995, Howard Marks has been responsible for ensuring the firm's adherence to its core investment philosophy, communicating closely with clients concerning products and strategies, and managing the firm. From 1985 until 1995, Mr. Marks led the groups at The TCW Group, Inc. that were responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. He was also Chief Investment Officer for Domestic Fixed Income at TCW. Previously, Mr. Marks was with Citicorp Investment Management for 16 years, where from 1978 to 1985 he was Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Between 1969 and 1978, he was an equity research analyst and, subsequently, Citicorp's Director of Research. Mr. Marks holds a B.S.Ec. degree cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Finance and an M.B.A. in Accounting and Marketing from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago, where he received the George Hay Brown Prize. He is a CFA charterholder and a Chartered Investment Counselor.

February 9, 2012: Jewish Writers You Wish You Knew About: Andrew Zitcer (C'00, MA'04)

CURF Summer Intern, Alexa Bryn put together a program of seven students and faculty members, who each discussed a Jewish writer you've probably never heard of that they think you should know more about. Adriel Koschitzsky, Sam Apple, Sarah Gracombe, Al Filreis, Kate Herzlin, Max Apple and Penn alum, Andrew Zitcer each had approximately seven minutes to speak. Each of these presenters gave background on their respective writers, and then shared some of their work with the audience. Topics and reactions spanned across a wide spectrum, from audience members singing along to Avrom Goldfaden's lullaby "Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen" to Al Filreis giving a heartfelt analysis of Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, a core book in his Holocaust class and one of his favorite books of all time. Such an inspiring evening of Jewish writers could only be rivaled by the reception, which featured a spread of some favorite Jewish foods!

November 5, 2011: Veronica Jurkiewicz (C'04) and Cheryl J. Family (C'91): the Creative Economy

As part of the Creative Ventures program, Cinema Studies and English professor, Peter DeCherney moderated this event focusing on creativity and how it drives the American economy. The panel guests were varied experts in the field, and included: Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia; Cheryl J. Family (C' 91), Senior Vice President/Brand Strategist of MTV Networks; Veronica Jurkiewicz (C'04), Performance Coordinator of the UPenn Department of Music and Co-founder of Classical Revolution; and Alex Mulcahy, Owner of Red Flag Media and Founder of GRID magazine, a local free magazine that focuses on urban sustainability. As the event was held on Homecoming Weekend, many parents attended the discussion, and were interested to learn about the value of non profit, the necessity for creativity in fields outside of the arts, as well as research within the artistic world.

October 27, 2011: Thomson Guster (C'10): Fiction Flash Mob

Thomson Guster is a writer and the editor of Heat Map, a magazine of fictional music writing. His first published work is forthcoming in Strange Attractors: Investigations in Non-Humanoid Extraterrestrial Sexualities. Devoted to loosening up the concept of fiction and exploring the territory between game design and conceptually-driven process writing, Thomson is excited to see what comes out of Flash Fiction Flash Mob.

September 20, 2011: Careers in Journalism and New Media

Stephen Fried (C'79, 34th Street co-editor '77-'78) is an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the author of five acclaimed books, including Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the West—One Meal at a Time (which the Wall Street Journal named one of the Top Ten Books of 2010) and Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia (which introduced the word "fashionista" into the English language.) A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Fried has written for Vanity Fair, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Ladies' Home Journal, Parade and Philadelphia Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Eliot Kaplan is the Executive Director, Talent Acquisition for Hearst Magazines, a unique position of scouting and recruiting the world's top editors, writers and art directors for the company's 19 magazines and start-up ventures. These magazines include Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle and O:The Oprah Magazine. His role includes career development, succession planning, new-project evaluation, compensation overview and process streamlining. Prior to this job, Kaplan had a distinguished career in magazine editing. In his seven years as editor-in-chief, Philadelphia Magazine won two National Magazine Awards (the field's Pulitzer)and was nominated a total of five times, including, for the first time in the magazine's history, in the General Excellence category. Before joining Philadelphia, Kaplan was managing editor of Gentlemen's Quarterly. As the No. 2 editor to Art Cooper, in charge of story assignment, editing and personnel, he helped transform the Conde Nast publication into one of the most influential and successful magazines in the country. Kaplan, who graduated from Penn in 1978, was a co-editor of 34th Street, a sports writer and op-ed columnist.

Melody Joy Kramer graduated from Penn in 2006 with a degree in English. While at Penn, she edited and wrote for the Punch Bowl Humor Magazine and wrote a weekly humor column in the Daily Pennsylvanian. After graduating, she became a Kroc Fellow at NPR in Washington DC, where she learned reporting, producing, booking and audio-editing skills. She then moved to Chicago, where for almost two years, she directed, wrote for and helped produce Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, NPR's humor show. Mel then moved back to Philadelphia and started working at Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She currently helps produce the radio show and writes/produces all of Fresh Air's web content.

Randall Lane is the editor of Forbes Magazine. Previously, he was editor-at-large at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, CEO and editor-in-chief of Doubledown Media, where he founded or relaunched six magazines, including Trader Monthly, Dealmaker, and Private Air, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of P.O.V. magazine, which was Adweek's "Startup of the Year." A National Magazine Award finalist, he has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair and was the Washington bureau chief for Forbes. He is the author of The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane.

Ashley Parker graduated from Penn in 2005, where she majored in English (Creative Writing concentration) and Communications. She wrote for The Daily Pennsylvanian, where she was the Assignments and Features Editor, as well as for 34th Street, where she was the Features Editor. During college, she interned at the New York Sun and The Gaithersburg Gazette. After graduating, she worked as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's research assistant, freelancing for every section of the paper during her five years with Maureen in the DC Buro. She became a full-time reporter for the Times last fall, moved to New York to work on the Metro desk, and recently started as a campaign reporter for the 2012 presidential election. Her photos have appeared in Vanity Fair ndash;a combination of luck and right place, right time prevailing over minimal talent.

September 15, 2011: Alicia Oltuski (C'06, G'06)

Alicia Oltuski, Penn alum and author of Precious Objects , spoke at the Writers House on a September Thursday. Max Apple's introduction referenced cherished memories of her as a student in his classes, speaking highly of her personality, high ambitions and impressive skills as a writer. Ms. Oltuski then read from her beautifully written book, which examines her own family history, and eloquently matches her family's workings in the diamond business with a need to be protective over one's own family. She answered questions regarding the line between fiction and nonfiction, the musicality of her language, and how long she had known she would be a writer instead of going into the diamond dealing business herself. The literary world is certainly better off for her choice to pursue writing over diamonds.

May 14, 2011: Jennifer Egan (C'85) and Sam Donsky (C'07): Alumni Authors Spotlight

Writers and Penn alums, Jennifer Egan and Sam Donsky came to the Writers House to read excerpts from their writings. English professor, Greg Djanikian introduced Sam, saying that Donsky's work can, "enlarge our notions of what poetry and high discourse can be." Donsky, in return, said that he wouldn't be writing poetry if it weren't for Greg. He also thanked Jennifer Egan for being a generous mentor, and the Writers House which he says he couldn't imagine his life without. After Donsky read some of his movie-titled poetry, English professor, Karen Rile introduced Egan, whose work she said she read for pleasure before she knew Egan was ever a Penn student. Having written works across multiple genres, Egan is a Pulitzer Prize winner who said that Penn has helped to shape her. The audience had the pleasure of hearing her read from the first chapter of her most recent book, A Visit from the Goon Squad.

April 11, 2011: Arielle Brousse (C'07) and Lee Huttner (C'10): 7-Up on Seven

In Seven-Up's Seventh Annual event, seven Penn folks spoke for approximately seven minutes each on topics relating, appropriately enough, to the number seven. This particular Seven-Up included two Penn alums: Lee Huttner on Dante's Magnificent Seven; and Arielle Brousse on the Seven Deadly Sins. Other topics and speakers in this event included Zach Carduner on his experience riding Septa’s #7 bus, Randall Couch on the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, Tim Corrigan quizzing the audience on sevens in film, Eric Karlan on sevens in baseball, and the world premiere screening of a film by seven-year old McCreary twins, Caleb and Malcolm. In typical Writers House style, the event was followed by a seven-themed reception of foods, including seven layer dip, seven different types of fruits, and so on.

April 7, 2011: Thomson Guster (C'10): Junior Fellows Presentation

The Kelly Writers House celebrates Gertrude Stein with "Nothing Elegent – A Stein Celebration." In true salon fashion, this event will feature a variety of "acts" – Stein read aloud, musical performances, interactive theater, academic engagement, visual arts and special "historical" guests. A reception to follow will feature foods from the time, including recipes from the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. This is a community event, and we want to invoke the creative spirit of that time period, so all ideas and people are welcome.

April 5, 2011: Marilyn Johnson (C'76): CPCW literary journalism program

Join us for a roundtable discussion of work by Kimberly Eisler (C'11) and Maggie McGrath (C'11), winners of the 2010-2011 CPCW Literary Journalism Fellowship: "The Stock in Bonds: The Fraternal Roots of Wall Street" (by Kim Eisler) and "The Long and Rusty Road: New York City's High Line made it look easy, but converting old rails into soaring urban parks is a tough job" (by Maggie McGrath). Joining the discussion will be: journalists and guest editors Marilyn Johnson (C'76) and Kate Buford.

April 2, 2011: Suzanne Maynard Miller (C'89): Playwriting workshop

Suzanne Maynard Miller's plays include Young Love, Flirting With the Deep End (Dramatic Publishing, 2007); Beatrice; The Handwriting, the Soup, and the Hats; and Abigail’s Atlas. Her work has been produced in Los Angeles, Seattle, Providence, New Haven and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Maynard Miller has taught playwriting and expository writing at Brown University and at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has been an artist-in-residence at public schools in Seattle, Providence, Brooklyn, and the Bronx and a playwright-in-residence at Annex Theater in Seattle, where she was a company member from 1989-1996. Maynard Miller has also led playwriting workshops for incarcerated women and was a founding member of Kidswrite, a Seattle-based literacy program for fifth graders. Currently, she teaches in the English Department at the New York City College of Technology/CUNY.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA, 1989), Maynard Miller received her MFA in playwriting from Brown University in 1998. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

March 14, 2011: Nina Godiwalla

Wharton alum Nina Godiwalla was introduced by Mingo Reynolds for her visit to the Writers House. Nina talked about her time at Wharton, traveling across the bridge to the Kelly Writers House to work on her writing while feeling torn between the creative and business worlds. Later, after working on Wall Street and experiencing its sexist environment, she realized that she had a story to tell. As a second generation American, she had a unique perspective on trying to achieve the American dream. In this fascinating lunch talk, she also discussed her unusual route to publishing her book, Suits: A Woman on Wall Street (which some describe as theThe Devil Wears Prada of investment banking), the legal issues she has faced for writing it, as well as her family's view on her choice to pursue writing rather than to stay in the business world. Godiwalla is the founder of MindWorks, which trains business professionals in meditation and stress management.

February 22, 2011: Stephanie Sherman

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
  • listen: to an audio recording of this event
  • Having graduated Penn in 2003, alum Stephanie Sherman visited the Writers House to talk about her thrift-store-turned-living-museum, Elsewhere. Erin Gautsche introduced Ms. Sherman, as this was the first event in the Creative Ventures program which Erin spearheaded. Ms. Sherman discussed her time at Penn romanticizing about being a writer, and how some practice with collaborative fiction and a spring break visit to North Carolina shaped her future career. Utilizing her friend's grandmother's thrift store, she and her friend founded Elsewhere as a space to play, experiment, and invite artists to live in residencies. The audience was naturally very curious about this innovative idea, asking about the closed system model of the living museum, as well as how materials could become part of the set. These questions also led Sherman to discuss the performance theatre in what they do, and how they look to interact with the community.

    March 30, 2010: Kathy DeMarco (C'88)

    A celebration of the publication of "Drizzle."

    March 29, 2010: Jo Piazza (C'02)

    A lunchtime discussion with Nate Chinen about his award-winning jazz and pop writing.

    March 25, 2010: Nate Chinen (C'97)

    A lunchtime conversation of Jo Piazza's upcoming book and her contributions to New York Daily News, CNN, Fox News, AOL, Slate, and The Daily Beast.

    March 3, 2010: Doug Glanville

    A lunch talk with sportswriter Doug Glanville about sports, his career, and his contributions to ESPN, New York Times, and various other publications.

    February 25, 2010: Howard Marks (W'67)

    A discussion Howard Marks' distinguished career in the financial industry and his widely-read memos.

    January 25, 2010: John Carroll (C'05)

    A taping of WXPN radio program LIVE at the Writers House discussing Carroll's new collaborative effort Philly Fiction 2.

    November 19, 2009: Greg Maughan (C'06)

    A panel discussion featuring local Philadelphia comedians and comedy writers - along with a special guest or two - discuss the day to day aspects of trying to do.

    November 9, 2009: Lisa DePaulo (C'82)

    A lunch discussion of Lisa DePaulo's career as a political writer and GQ correspondent.

    November 7, 2009: Next page in book publishing: Buzz Bissinger (C'77), Dennis Drabelle (G'66, L'69), Matthew Algeo, (C'88), David Borgenicht (C'90), and Stephen Fried (C'79)

    Readings by top alumni non-fiction writers followed by a provocative panel discussion about the future of the book business and ambitious writing.

    October 5, 2009: Becca Kantor

    Returning to the Writers House just one semester after she graduated, Becca Kantor joined us to interrupt our Monday blues with fantastical descriptions of “an island with [a] limestone castle,” something which had held a “firm grip in [her]…imagination” since early childhood. Becca had the opportunity to make this fantasy her reality for a summer when the Writers House sponsored her trip to the Baltic, enabling her to uncover details about her grandfather, Louis I. Kahn’s, young life there. Before beginning her formal presentation, Becca gave a shout-out to the fabulous meal Erin Gautsche had cooked for the event. “Estonian food,” she mused. “How fun!” With the prospect of a full stomach, she walked us through the regional and family history uncovered during her travels, as well as many of the sites themselves. These included old family residences, museums, and photographs, all of which she used to aid and inspire her culminating project: a novel about her grandfather’s origins. Quoting him, she read to the audience, “I'm always looking for a source, a beginning. I like English history, I have volumes of it, but I've never read anything but the first volume...my only real purpose is to read volume zero which, of course, has not yet been written.” Accordingly, Becca’s “idea to create a novel based on Lou's relationship with Estonia, in a sense, was an attempt to write Lou's own volume zero… Like Lou,” she continued, “I believe that beginnings have the potential to shape the nature of a thing or person." Certainly, we feel privileged to have been exposed to this project in its beginning—and are confident that the form it takes will be just as fascinating as its content, whatever shape that may be.

    2008-2009

    May 16: Nick Spitzer (C'72)

    A presentation of "American Routes: Songs and Stories from the Road."

    April 23: Matthew Abess (C'08)

    A lunchtime discussion of The Topography of Testimony with students and friends of the Writers House.

    April 7, 14: Wystan Curnow

    Wynstan Curnow discussed an exhibit he is currently curating of works by four international painters, called "Let Us Possess One World," as well as his role as an advisor/collaborator to the New Zealand conceptual artist Billy Apple. He participated in an episode of PoemTalk and gave a presentation on curating as a cultural practice. He came back a week later to read some of his work at the Writers House.

    November 1: Extreme Sportswriting with Stefan Fatsis (C'85), Buzz Bissinger (C'77), Jon Wertheim (Law '97), and Stephen Fried (C'79)

    A raucous, full-contact panel discussion about the future of sports and journalism.

    October 3: Gerald M. Stern (W'58)

    A discussion of his new book, The Scotia Widows: Inside Their Lawsuit Against Big Daddy Coal.

    September 25: Ellen Yin (W'87, WG'93)

    A conversation about Ellen Yin's restaurant Fork and her new cookbook Folklore.

    2007-2008

    May 17: Christina Davis (C'93, G'93), Michael Jennings (C'71), Jay Rogoff (C'75), and J. Allyn Rosser (C'88 GR'91)

    A poetry reading featuring former students of Penn Professor Dan Hoffman.

    April 22: Moira Moody (C'06)

    A presentation and discussion based on a "scrapbook of Philadelphia" created by alumna Moira Moody.

    April 17: Monica Weymouth (C'07)

    A discussion of the present and future of the THE PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER, independent journalism outlet for over 26 years.

    April 16: Deb Burnham (G'76, GR'89)

    A reading of Old English poems and new poems inspired by Old English.

    April 11: Randi Hutter Epstein (C'84)

    A lunch discussion with Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, an adjunct professor of journalism at the The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University as well as a medical journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph and several national magazines.

    April 10: Caroline Tiger (C'96)

    A lunch talk with Caroline Tiger, freelance journalist and author and a former managing editor of Philadelphia magazine.

    April 4: Kate Lee (C'99)

    A lunch conversation with Kate Lee, who has been at ICM for six years and has worked with several high profile clients in her tenure.

    March 26: Julie Buxbaum (C'99)

    Julie Buxbaum is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School. After practicing law in both New York and Los Angeles, she quit her job as a litigator to write full time, and joined us for a mentor lunch program to discuss her projects.

    March 3: Dan McQuade (C'04) and Matt Rosenbaum (C'06)

    Alumn Dan McQuade and Matt Rosenbaum joined us for our annual 7 up program, on rock, contributing a commentary on Rock, Papers, Scissors and a reading of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, respectively.

    February 28: Beth Kephart (C'82)

    Co-sponsored by the Creative Writing program, local, critically acclaimed author Beth Kephart joined us for a lunch conversation.

    February 27: Nancy Cordes (C'95)

    Dick Polman hosted a lunch talk with journalist and Penn alumna Nancy Cordes.

    October 26: Randi Hutter Epstein

    A lunch discussion with Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, an adjunct professor of journalism at the The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University as well as a medical journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph and several national magazines.

    October 23: Ariel Djanikian (C'04), Phil Sandick (C'03), Alicia Oltuski (C'06), and Yona Silverman (C'06)

    Former students of beloved writing professor Max Apple Ariel Djanikian, Phil Sandick, Alicia Oltuski, and Yona Silverman, followed by Max himself, joined us for toasts and read excerpts from his new book The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories.

    October 20: Michael Bamberger (C'82), Cynthia Kaplan (C'85), and Stephen Fried (C'79)

    A panel discussion of three nationally-known alumni authors discussing personal writing and reading from their new memoirs

    October 5: Lynn Rosen

    A lunch with Lynn Rosen who has had a wide-ranging twenty-plus year career in book publishing as an editor, literary agent, book packager, and author.

    2006-2007

    September 13: Greg Manning

    a lunch program with alumnus, memoirist, and former Daily Pennsylvanian Executive Editor Greg Manning. He has worked as a reporter, an editor, and in senior marketing positions in the financial information industry at Telerate Systems Incorporated, as a Partner at Market Data Corporation, and as a Senior Vice President of Euro Brokers, which was based at the World Trade Center

    September 14: Jennifer Egan

    A reading and conversations with novelist and journalist, Jennifer Egan. Finalist for the National Book Award, she has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zoetrope and Ploughshares, among others, and her journalism appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine.

    September 23: Clarissa Sligh

    A roundtable discussion about bookmaking and collection. Clarissa Sligh discusses making photographic based images, artists' books' and text based installations

    October 4: Judith Rodin

    A discussion with the first Penn alumna - and the first woman - to be named President of the University. Judith Rodin is currently President of the Rockefeller Foundation, which works to expand opportunities for the disadvantaged, and has published more than 200 articles and chapters in academic publications and authored or co-authored eleven books.

    October 10: Maury Povich (C'62)

    A celebration of Dick Polman's appointment as Povich Writer-in-Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, honoring donor and tv personality, Maury Povich.

    October 28: Jean Chatzky (C'86), Lisa DePaulo (C'82), Buzz Bissinger (C'76), Stephen Fried (C'79)

    The Kelly Writers House community is proud to present its second annual Homecoming Celebration of Alumni Nonfiction Writers! This year features a panel discussion on "The Real Life of a Non-Fiction Writer.

    November 30: Cassidy Hartmann (C'05), Dan McQuade (C'04)

    Hosted by Anthony DeCurtis, this event featured writers from Philadelphia Weekly, including columnist Cassidy Harman and award-winning blogger Daniel McQuade.

    February 7: Nate Chinen (C'97)

    Formerly the Assistant Coordinater here at the Writer's House, music critic Nate Chinen participated in a conversation with Gary Giddins. Nate has contributed to the New York Times, the Jazz Times, Weekend America, as well as a nationally syndicated radio program and various other publications.

    February 19: Jack Truten (GR'93)

    A discussion of narrative medicinde presented by Word.doc.

    February 20: Greg Djanikian (C'71)

    Book release of Greg Djanikian's poetry collection So I Will Till the Ground. Djanikian is Director of the Creative Writing Program.

    February 22: Jamie-Lee Josselyn (C'05)

    Memoirist and hub member Jamie Lee Josselyn contributed to the annual 7-Up program in 2007 on the topic of "bitter".

    March 29: Hank Herman (C'71)

    Prize-winning juvenile fiction writer Hank Herman discussed how he found himself as a kids' sports fiction novelist after being a career magazine editor, humorist, and non-fiction writer; how to use your own experiences as material for great kids' fiction books; how to stick to a kid's point-of-view in your writing -- and other elements of the craft of juvenile fiction writing

    April 9: Lee Eisenberg (C'68 ASC'70)

    Lee Eisenberg served as editor in chief at Esquire before overseeing creative development at TIME magazine. He joined us for a rountable discussion with Daniel Okrent and CPCW Literary Journalism Fellowships.

    May 12: Michael Hyde (C'95), Courtney Zoffness (C'00), Laura Dave (C'98)

    These three former Penn students joined us on alumni weekend for a Celebration of Young Alumni Fiction Writers.

    2005-2006

    April 26, 2006: Greg Manning

    A lunchtime conversation with Greg Manning, author of the New York Times bestseller, LOVE, GREG & LAUREN: A Powerful True Story of Courage, Hope, and Survival.

    November 19, 2005: Dan Fishback

    Dan Fishback, a performance artist/singer-songwriter from New York City, will present "PLEASE LET ME LOVE YOU", a one-man show about "finding love in every evil and evil in every love."

    November 16, 2005: Wyatt Mason

    A Rimbaud translation event featuring Seth Whidden and Penn alumnus Wyatt Mason. Modern Library has published, in three volumes, Mason's translations of the complete works of Arthur Rimbaud.

    November 5, 2005: Buzz Bissinger, Stefan Fatsis, Stephen Fried, Lisa Green, Eliot Kaplan, and Richard Stevenson

    In honor of Homecoming, the Writers House presents its first annual celebration of alumni nonfiction writers. A panel of nonfiction writers including Buzz Bissinger, Stefan Fatsis, Stephen Fried, Lisa Green, and Richard Stevenson discusses some of the legal and ethical controversies facing journalism and the future of nonfiction writing. Eliot Kaplan will give a short presentation about the Nora Magid Prize after the panel discussion.

    November 1, 2005: Susan Senator

    Susan Senator will host a reading and conversation in the Arts Cafe.

    2004-2005

    May 14, 2005: Jennifer Egan (C'85), Jeanne Murray Walker (GR'74), Greg Djanikian (C'71)

    A Celebration of Penn's Creative Writing Program

    A reading and celebration of Penn's Creative Writing Program and the generations of student and alumni writers who have found their voices within it! The program features three alumni of the program: Jennifer Egan, Jeanne Murray Walker, Greg Djanikian; and three undergraduate creative writers: Lindsey Palmer, Sam Donsky, and Jamie-Lee Josselyn. The reading is hosted by poet and Director of Penn's Creative Writing Program Gregory Djanikian (C'71).

    April 15, 2005: John Dorst (GR'83)

    The Ethnographic Writing Workshop Series presents "Stitching Up the Shallow Body: Metaphor, Theory, and the Poetics of Ethnography," with John Dorst

    Since completion of his graduate training in folklore/folklife, first at U.C. Berkeley (M.A. 1977) and then at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD 1983), John Dorst has been on the English Department and American Studies faculties at the University of Wyoming. His current research is concerned with the production and vernacular display of animal artifacts (e.g. animal trophies and other taxidermy), and with theoretical issues raised in doing ethnographic work on this topic. This research grows partly out of a museum exhibition, "Framing the Wild: Animals on Display", that he curated in 2002/03 for the University Art Museum and the Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 in support of this research and is now working on a book. His books include Looking West(University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999) and The Written Suburb: An American Site, An Ethnographic Dilemma (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989).

    February 20, 2005: Nate Chinen (C'97)

    "Myself Among Others": Co-writing Jazz History: a conversation and reading with George Wein and Nate Chinen

    In addition to coauthoring the award-winning autobiography Myself Among Others, Nate Chinen is a columnist for JazzTimes magazine, a regular reviewer for the Village Voice, and the resident jazz critic for Weekend America, a syndicated public radio program. He's also a Penn English alumnus (Creative Writing with Poetry Emphasis) and a former Assistant Coordinator of the Kelly Writers House.

    December 13, 2004: Peter Nichols, John Prendergast (C'80)

    LIVE at the Writers House, "Writers at Work at Penn"

    Peter Nichols has worked at Penn for nearly 23 years. Currently, he is the editor of Penn Arts & Sciences Magazine, the alumni publication of the School of Arts and Sciences. Before that, he was a staff writer for Penn's Institute for Research on Higher Education, where he wrote reports for the Pew Higher Education Roundtable as well as case studies, proposals, and other materials. Peter is a Penn alumnus and earned his degree from the College of General Studies, taking advantage of the university's tuition benefit while working full time at Biddle Law Library. He is also a freelance writer--not to mention a husband and a dad of two boys.

    John Prendergast has published a novel, JUMP, and has had stories in magazines including Glimmer Train, The Bridge, The Ledge, and The Painted Bride Quarterly. As a journalist, he has written and/or edited articles on hunting dogs for the American Kennel Club's newspaper; on business and management issues for Pennsylvania Outlook and the Wharton Magazine; and on the environment, transportation, bridges and buildings, and other engineering-related subjects for Civil Engineering Magazine. He is currently editor of The Pennsylvania Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania.

    November 16, 2004: Hank Herman (C'71)

    Writing Fiction for Kids: A lunchtime conversation with Hank Herman; and Writing Your Own Column for Newspapers and Magazines

    Hank Herman is the author of Super Hoops, a prize-winning series of 15 basketball novels for kids published by Bantam Doubleday Dell. His other books for the juvenile market include Spin A Sport, a collection of sports stories and games published by Innovative Kids, and Marked Man And Other Soccer Stories, published by Roxbury Park/Lowell House. He is also an award-winning newspaper columnist: "The Home Team," his column in the Westport News, has taken several top honors from both the New England Press Association and the Connecticut Press Club. He writes primarily about sports and kids, and his work has appeared in national publications including The New York Times, Outside, Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Family Fun, Parenting, Ladies' Home Journal, and McCall's.

    November 9, 2004: Lisa Scottoline (C'77, L'81)

    The Fifth Annual Gay Talese Lecture, featuring author and Penn alumnus Lisa Scottoline, presented by the Writers House in conjunction with the National Italian American Foundation

    Lisa loves her job and it shows in her writing. Her bestselling novels, set in Philadelphia and featuring the all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, have thrilled and entertained readers while succeeding in the near impossible... adding humor to the legal system. USA Today hails her writing as "sharp, intelligent, funny, and hip" and says that she "gives fans of legal thrillers a good, twisty plot, lively characters, and an all-around fun read."

    Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author and her achievements have been recognized by universities and organizations alike. In addition to winning the Edgar Award, mystery writers' highest honor, Lisa has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from West Chester University and an Alumni Certificate of Merit by the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She also received the "Paving the Way" award from Women in Business and the "Distinguished Author Award" from Scranton University. All of Lisa's books draw on her experience as a trial lawyer as well as her judicial clerkships in the state and federal justice systems.

    Born, raised and schooled in Philly, Lisa went to (where else?) the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude in just three years earning her degree in English with a concentration in the contemporary American novel, and she was taught writing by professors such as National Book Award Winner Philip Roth. Lisa went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Law School, graduating cum laude in 1981, and landed a coveted clerkship for a state appellate judge.

    Always interested in writing, and a big fan of the hot new writers Grisham and Turow and the newly created legal thriller genre, Lisa realized that no women lawyers were writing legal thrillers, and decided to give it a shot. Three years later, Lisa had a finished book, a daughter starting school, and five maxed-out credit cards. Debt-ridden, Lisa took a part-time job clerking for a federal appellate judge. No more than a week later, her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went was bought by HarperCollins' editor Carolyn Marino. Critically acclaimed, Everywhere That Mary Went was nominated by the Mystery Writer's of America for the Edgar Award, suspense fiction's premiere award, and the award went to...someone else. But, the very next year, Lisa's second book, Final Appeal was nominated for the Edgar and won!

    A lifelong Philadelphian, Lisa still lives in the Philadelphia area and enjoys writing about her hometown city. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages.

    November 1, 2004: David Koch (C'08)

    A lunchtime program with Dave Koch and Josh Melrod, editors of The Land Grant College Review

    Dave Koch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. In the summer of 2002, he attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, VT on a "waiter's" fellowship. He founded the Land-Grant College Review with Josh Melrod in April 2002 and has been working on it night and day ever since.

    October 16, 2004: Deborah Burnham (G'76, GR'89), Kerry Sherin Wright (C'87), Stefan Fatsis (C'85), Courtney Zoffness (C'00), Robert Shepard (C'83, G'83)

    Join the Writers House community as we host a Homecoming reading celebrating Penn alumni writers.

    Deborah Burnham (G'76, GR'89) teaches English and writing at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book, Anna and the Steel Mill won the First Book prize from Texas Tech University, and she has just finished another volume of poems, Jazz in the All-Night Laundromat. She is finishing a novel, Raising June, set in the midwest during the Viet Nam war. For over twenty years, she taught poetry at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, where she created the writing program. A long-time resident of Powelton Village in Philadelphia, she makes gardens where they are needed and loves her compost piles.

    Kerry Sherin Wright (C'87) was the first Director of the Kelly Writers House. She holds MAs from Hollins College and Temple University, and received her PhD from Temple in 2002. She has published in Poet Lore, New England Review, Combo, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philadelphia Magazine, among other places. Kerry is currently the Director of a new Writers House at Franklin and Marshall College.

    Stefan Fatsis (C '85) writes about sports for The Wall Street Journal and talks about it regularly on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." He is the author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players (2001). Word Freak was a New York Times bestseller and has been optioned for development as a feature film by Academy Award-winning director Curtis Hanson. The book also has helped make board games cool: Fatsis has been the color commentator for ESPN's first-ever television coverage of tournament Scrabble. He also is the author of Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in America's Heartland (1995). He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, "All Things Considered" host Melissa Block, and their daughter, Chloe.

    Courtney Zoffness co-founded and ran the Writers House open mic series "Speakeasy: Poetry, Prose and Anything Goes" in 1997. After graduating from Penn in 2000 with a BA cum laude in English and Fine Arts, Courtney worked as a writer for MTV Networks, a columnist for Manhattan's Our Town and West Side Spirit newspapers and as Managing Editor of The Earth Times in New York. She received a full scholarship to attend the Masters program in fiction at Johns Hopkins University in 2002, and stayed on as a Lecturer of creative writing. This fall she began the MFA program at the University of Arizona as a Teaching Fellow. Courtney has published nonfiction in periodicals such as Ladies' Home Journal, The Earth Times Monthly and the Scarsdale Inquirer, poetry in the anthology Forever and a Day, and fiction in Redivider and The Pedestal Magazine. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories that she hopes to complete while a Resident Writer at the Vermont Studio Center in 2005.

    Robert Shepard C'83, G'83 is a California-based literary agent and has been a publishing professional for 20 years. He takes particular pride in having remained immersed in books from the moment he took his degrees in English, first serving as a research assistant to President Emeritus Martin Meyerson, then during his nine years at Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, and especially since founding his own literary agency, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary year. "One way or another," he notes, he's also come to represent a number of Penn alumni authors, including today's panelist Stefan Fatsis C'85, the author of WORD FREAK and WILD & OUTSIDE. Among other alumni with books on his list are financial columnist Jean Sherman Chatzky C'86, art historian Robert Wojtowicz C'83, Gr'90, and music writer Richie Unterberger C'82. He is particularly proud that one of his clients, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting; Anthony's book about the people, history, and life of Baghdad will be published next year. A member of the Authors Guild, Robert represents both narrative and practicalnon-fiction works and writes and teaches frequently about books and writing. At Penn, where he was news editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian, he serves as secretary and past co-chair of PennGALA and as a member of the Penn Alumni Communications Committee, which oversees publications including the Pennsylvania Gazette. He lives in Berkeley, California with his partner, Bob Numerofyet another Penn alum.

    October 7, 2004: Roy Vagelos (C'50)

    A conversation with Roy Vagelos about his new book, Medicine, Science, and Merck, co-authored with Louis Galambos

    Roy Vagelos grew up a "wise-cracking kid" in an immigrant Greek family living through the hard times of the 1930s in New Jersey. He left the family restaurant business to attend Penn, and graduated from the College in 1950. After several academic positions in medical schools, and time at the National Institutes of Health, he became a distinguished science administrator at Merck. Eventually he became Merck's CEO.

    After developing a medication for another purpose that was ultimately found to cure River Blindness, a devastating disease occurring primarily in underdeveloped countries unable to pay for such medications, Merck donated the medicine to the World Health Organization for free distribution. Vagelos worked closely with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter on the River Blindness crisis, and Carter has cited him many times publicly for his boldness, leadership, and generosity.

    In his memoir Roy Vagelos has two stories to tell - one about the growth and development of medical science in business and the other about the dream of the ethnic American realized - and these stories are social, national, and intellectual rather than merely personal in nature. In 1997 Vagelos made a $10 million gift to establish the Roy Vagelos Scholars in Molecular Life Sciences at Penn, including an endowment and a scholarship fund. As Chairman of Penn's Trustees, Vagelos made undergraduate financial aid his highest priority. Under his leadership, Penn's capacity to offer undergraduate financial aid became greater and stabler than before.

    2003-2004

    May 15, 2004: Leslie Bennetts (C'70), Buzz Bissinger (C'76), Beth Kephart (C'82), and Stephen Fried (C'79)

    "The Art of Fact": An Alumni Panel Discussion on Literary Journalism

    Join Penn alumni in publishing - Leslie Bennetts (C'70), Buzz Bissinger (C'76), Beth Kephart (C'82), and Stephen Fried (C'79) - for a lively discussion on literary journalism and the current state of creative nonfiction writing in books and magazines

    April 24, 2004: Adrienne Mishkin (C'03)

    "A Year in Dialogue": A celebration of the work of 2003-2004 Writers House Junior Fellow Adrienne Mishkin

    Adrienne Mishkin graduated from Penn with a degree in English and the Biological Basis of Behavior in May of 2003. During her undergraduate years she was an active member of the hub and was one of the coordinators of the speakeasy open mic series. Since graduation, she has been working for the Hospital of the University, and has maintained strong ties with the house, including collecting and producing poetry about the house as part of the Junior Fellows program, and continuing to attend speakeasy and various hub functions

    April 14, 2004: Elizabeth Alexander

    Brave Testimony Reading Series

    Celebrated poet Elizabeth Alexander has taught and lectured on African American art and culture across the country and abroad for nearly two decades. She received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from Boston University, and the Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Alexander is an acclaimed professor, who currently teaches in the English and African American Studies Departments at Yale University. She has taught at Haverford College, the University of Chicago, where she won the University's top teaching prize, and Smith College, where she was the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence and first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College. In the summers, she is a faculty member at Cave Canem Poetry Workshop.

    Her play, Diva Studies, was produced at the Yale School of Drama in May 1996.

    Her most recent collection of essays on African-American poetry, painting, and popular culture, The Black Interior, was published in January 2004. In her introduction to this work, she describes "the black interior" as "an idea, a metaphor, of...black life and creativity behind the public face of stereotype and limited imagination." Widely touted, her book examines a wide spectrum of subject matter, from the role of literary heavyweights such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Michael Harper to Denzel Washington's career as complex black male icon to the collective memory of racial violence.

    Her three previous collections of poetry include Antebellum Dream Book, The Venus Hottentot, and Body of Life. Her poems, short stories, and critical writing also have been published in such journals and periodicals as the Paris Review, Signs, Callaloo, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, The Women's Review of Books, and The Washington Post. In addition, her poems are anthologized in dozens of collections. Her work is distinguished by its examination of history, gender, and race.

    April 12-13, 2004: Dayton Duncan (C'71)

    A brunch and conversation with writer and documentary filmmaker Dayton Duncan

    Dayton Duncan is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker. He has written nine books, including Out West: A Journey Through Lewis & Clark's America (a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection and finalist for the Western Writers of America's Spur Award), Grass Roots: One Year in the Life of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, and Miles from Nowhere: In Search of the American Frontier. His most recent book is Scenes of Visionary Enchantment: Reflections on Lewis & Clark, a collection of essays released in conjunction with the Lewis & Clark bicentennial. He has also written two books on the American west for young readers, and has published articles in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and many other publications. Duncan has worked for many years with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, as a consultant for Burns's documentaries "The Civil War," "Baseball," and "Jazz." He is the writer and producer of "Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery," a four-hour documentary broadcast in November 1997 that won a Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, and a CINE Golden Eagle, among others. He is the co-writer and producer of "Mark Twain," a four-hour film biography of the great American humorist which was broadcast on PBS in 2002. His most recent collaboration with Burns is "Horatio's Drive," about the first transcontinental automobile trip. Duncan served as chief of staff to New Hampshire governor Hugh Gallen, deputy national press secretary for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign, and national press secretary for Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign. Duncan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, and was also a Fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy. President Clinton appointed him chair of the American Heritage Rivers Advisory Committee and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt appointed him as a director of the National Park Foundation. He holds honorary doctorates from Franklin Pierce College and Drake University. For the last thirty years he has lived in New Hampshire with his wife, Diane, and their two children.

    March 31, 2004: David Stern

    Workshop on Screenwriting Structure and "Now that I have this great idea, what do I do with it?" A Conversation on circulating screenplays with alumnus, screenwriter, playwright and director David Stern

    David I. Stern began his career working in the New York theater for Director/Lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. During his tenure with Maltby, he worked on the Broadway productions of Miss Saigon, Nick & Nora, and Big as well as a myriad of other smaller projects. Simultaneously, he began his theater writing career. He wrote the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue Some Enchanted Evening, the plays Dreams & Stuff and Finders of Lost Luggage, the NPR radio program The 1990s Radio Hour and a Half, and the musical Snapshots. David took a small detour into directing with the New York revival of Starting Here, Starting Now (nominated for a MAC Award) and a stint with The American Project at Circle in the Square. After his six years in New York, David migrated west to Los Angeles. There he wrote the television movie Geppetto for The Wonderful World of Disney, as well as numerous feature films including: The Muppets Return for Jim Henson Productions, Wish for director Ivan Reitman and Dreamworks, Gettysburgville for director Jon Turtletaub and Disney, and Old Friends for Revolution Studios. He is currently writing The Magic Brush for Miramax, Betting the Farm for Sony Pictures Animation, and is creating the television series Omega Dome for Fox Sports.

    March 20, 2004: Dan Fishback

    Dan Fishback is a songwriter and performance artist from New York City who often waxes sentimentally about his good times at the Kelly Writers House. His band, Cheese On Bread, just released its first album, "Maybe Maybe Maybe Baby." His first one-man performance piece, "Assholes Speak Louder Than Words" will premiere in New York this February. He is currently recording his solo material, and hopes to be done early this summer, leaving enough time to campaign for whoever will yoink the presidency from George W. Bush.

    March 1, 2004: Lorene Cary (C'78)

    LIVE taping

    Lorene Cary is the author of two novels, The Price of A Child (1995), Philadelphia's and Buffalo, NY's One Book, One City choice for 2003, and Pride (1998), and a best-selling memoir, Black Ice (1991). In 1998 Cary founded Art Sanctuary, a unique and successful arts series that brings excellent black artists to speak, perform and give workshops at the Church of the Advocate, a National Historic Landmark Building in North Philadelphia. Currently a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a 1998 recipient of the Provosts Award for Distinguished Teaching, Cary has received The Philadelphia Award for civic service, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts Fellowship and honorary doctorates from Colby College in Maine, Keene State College in New Hampshire, and Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, the Rev. Robert C. Smith, and daughters Laura and Zo

    February 21, 2004: Beandra Davis

    Art Gallery Reception: "Through Her Eyes: Works in Photography and Prose"

    Beandrea Davis is a photographer and writer interested in using art to promote greater social justice in our world. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania in May 2003 with a degree in Afro-American Studies and French. Rooted in the belief that creating images with a camera or a pen is an inherently political act, she is interested in documenting individuals and communities who live on the margins of our society. She lives in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia.

    February 2, 2004: Andy Wolk

    Screenwriter and director (and Penn alumnus) Andy Wolk begins a three-day Symposium on Writing for Film, Theatre, and TV. Symposium participants meet with Mr. Wolk in the afternoon at the Writers House to discuss their scripts and treatments.

    Andy Wolk directed the CBS hit A Town without Christmas starring Patricia Heaton and Peter Falk. Prior to that he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed and highly-rated Deliberate Intent for FX. Starting Timothy Hutton, it was called by the LA Times "taut, smart, provocative, well-acted and suspensefully directed." Mr. Wolk received his third Writer's Guild nomination for this movie. He also wrote and directed the much-lauded HBO drama Criminal Justice which made Time Magazine's "Ten Best" list and was named the best cable movie of the year. Starring Forest Whitaker and Rosie Perez, Criminal Justice also received the Silver Prize at FIPA in Cannes and was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award. Other cable movie credits include writing and directing The Defenders: Payback, Choice of Evils, and Taking the First, three movies for Paramount and Showtime starring Beau Bridges and E.G. Marshall and based on the classic 60s show. Other TV movies include Alibi, All Lies End in Murder, Mr. Rock 'N Roll, and Kiss and Tell. He has also directed The Sopranos and episodes of The Practice, NYPD Blue, Equal Justice and others. Andy Wolk's writing credits include Natica Jackson which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and won him the Writer's Guild Award. Most recently he adapted Elmore Leonard's Bandits for Miramax Films. Mr. Wolk's career started in the theater. For Lincoln Center he directed Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Winter's Tale, each of which had successful off-Broadway runs. He has had plays produced as a writer and director at Manhattan Theatre Club, LaMama, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and all over Europe.

    November 8, 2003: Suzanne Maynard Miller (C'89)

    Suzanne Maynard Miller's plays have been produced in Seattle, Los Angeles, New Haven, Providence and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She currently works with Open Classroom (an artist-in-residency program in the New York City public schools), and is guest teaching at Hunter College. In addition, Suzanne has taught playwriting at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, in the Seattle and Providence public schools, and in Rhode Island's Adult Correctional Institution. Suzanne is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received her MFA in playwriting from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She lives in Brooklyn.

    November 8, 2003: Allie D'Augustine (C'02)

    Allie D'Augustine is a freelance writer who lives in the Bella Vista area of South Philadelphia. A 2002 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Writers House Junior Fellow for 2003-2004, she is currently pursuing a master's degree at Penn. She has written articles for a number of publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, HealthState magazine, and the Pennsylvania Gazette. Her poetry has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and in Joss magazine.

    November 4, 2003: Greg Djanikian (C'71)

    Greg Djanikian is the Director of the Creative Writing Program and Associate Undergraduate Chair of the English Department. He has published four collections of poetry, The Man in the Middle, Falling Deeply into America, About Distance, and most recently, Years Later.

    November 4, 2003: Susan Stewart (GR'78)

    Susan Stewart teaches the history of lyric poetry, aesthetics, and the philosophy of literature in the English department at Penn. Her most recent books of poetry are Columbarium, just published this summer, and The Forest. Her books of criticism include Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, Crimes of Writing and On Longing. Next year the University of Chicago Press will publish her collected essays on art: The Open Studio: Essays on Art 1987-2003. In the Fall of 2000 she delivered the Beckman Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Stewart was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1997.

    October 29, 2003: Robert Cort (C'68 G'70 WG'74)

    Robert Cort has produced fifty-two films, including Runaway Bride, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Mr. Holland's Opus, Save the Last Dance, and Against the Ropes, starring Meg Ryan, which Paramount will release in the fall. A true Hollywood insider, for years Cort contemplated writing a history of the motion picture industry. When he finally put pen to paper, the result was ACTION! (Random House, 2003), a page-turning drama set against the last half century of the movie business. Prior to his career in the movie industry, Cort earned an MBA from the Wharton School, worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, and served a two-year assignment with the Central Intelligence Agency. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rosalie Swedlin, a manager of writers and directors.

    October 20, 2003: Adrienne Mishkin (C'03)

    Adrienne Mishkin graduated from Penn with a degree in English and the Biological Basis of Behavior in May of 2003. During her undergraduate years she was an active member of the hub and was one of the coordinators of the speakeasy open mic series. Since graduation, she has been working for the Hospital of the University, and has maintained strong ties with the house, including collecting and producing poetry about the house as part of the Junior Fellows program, and continuing to attend speakeasy and various hub functions

    October 20, 2003: Phil Sandick (C'03)

    Phil Sandick graduated in May from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in English. He is an Assistant Program Coordinator at the Kelly Writers House. As an undergrad, he sang as a tenor with Penny Loafers, a co-ed a cappella group on Penn's campus. Last year, Phil was involved with "Write On" at the Writers House, where he served as a writing coach with students from the Lea School. He also writes fiction and short stories.

    October 10, 2003: John Edgar Wideman (C'63)

    Roundtable Conversation featuring John Edgar Wideman, Daniel Wideman and Albert French.

    October 7, 2003: Dave Koch (C'98)

    Dave Koch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and now attends the MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis, where he's also been awarded a teaching fellowship. Last summer, he attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, VT on a "waiter's" fellowship. He founded the Land-Grant College Review with Josh Melrod in April 2002 and has been working on it night and day ever since.

    September 29, 2003: Lee Passarella

    A lunch program with poet and Atlanta Review editor Lee Passarella, who also works as senior technical writer for a major producer of accounting software and teaches English part-time at Georgia Perimeter College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

    September 20, 2003: Katie Haegele (C'98)

    Katie Haegele is a contributing editor for the Philadelphia Weekly, where she writes a book column. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in the Utne Reader, Adbusters, and MediaBistro.com. She received a BA in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

    2002-2003

    May 16, 2003: Alumni Faculty Exchange

    Penn's Office of Alumni Relations and the Kelly Writers House invite Penn alumni of all ages to meet and reconnect with some of the University's most well-regarded Professors.

    Herman Beavers, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Afro-American Studies Program; Robert F. Lucid, Professor Emeritus of English; Karen Rile, Lecturer; Witold Rybczynski, Martin & Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism and Professor of Real Estate; and Nancy S. Steinhardt, Professor of East Asian Art in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Curator of Chinese Art at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

    May 1, 2003: Philadelphia Alumni Club

    Penn's Philadelphia Alumni Club and Kelly Writers House present a book discussion group, open to all Philadelphia-area alumni, led by Kelly Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Writers House Al Filreis. Filreis will lead an informal discussion of the new novel by Frederick Busch, A Memory of War.

    April 24, 2003: Lew Schneider

    Lew Schneider

    Lew Schneider, comedy writer for Everybody Loves Raymond and other series, will lead an informal workshop on comedy writing.

    Lew Schneider began his professional career in Chicago following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. While taking classes in improvisational technique at the Second City Players' Workshop, he started performing as a stand-up comedian. He toured extensively for five years, appearing clubs and colleges across the country prior to relocating to New York in 1988. In the fall of 1989, Lew landed his first regular television job as the host of the Nickledodeon game show, "Make the Grade." The next year he was cast as the lead in a CBS Summer series entitled "Wish You Were Here..." Following that short run he was cast as a series regular on the Fox Network comedy, "Down The Shore". During breaks in production he continued to perform live and starred in his own HBO half-hour comedy special. He began writing for television in 1993. His credits include: the ill-fated "George Wendt Show,"the "John Larroquette Show" and "The Naked Truth." He currently serves as a writer and executive producer on the CBS comedy, "Everybody Loves Raymond." Lew, his wife, Liz Abbe, and their three sons, make their home in Pacific Palisades, California.

    April 18, 2003: Jennifer Snead

    Jennifer Snead presents a preceptorial on J.R.R. Tolkien.

    April 9, 2003: Kate Northrop

    Kate Northrop joins Daniel Nester in a reading, part of the Kelly Writers House Local Spotlight Series, co-sponsored by Poets Among US.

    Kate Northrop's poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The American Poetry Review, Raritan, and other journals. Her first full length collection, Back Through Interruption, won the Stan and Tom Wick poetry award and was published in October 2002 by Kent State University Press. She is a graduate of both the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Pennsylvania and teaches creative writing at West Chester University.

    April 7, 2003: Andrew Zitcer

    Andrew Zitcer joins other writers and musicians for an episode of Live at the Writers House titled "The Experimental Poetry Show."

    Andrew Zitcer is an artist and community arts activist based in West Philadelphia. His interests include community arts, city planning, poetry, music and digital art practices. He works for the University of Pennsylvania as a coordinator of cultural events and advisor to student groups; he studies in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Andrew is a founder of the Foundation Community Arts Initiative, and recently curated "sense data" at the Painted Bride Arts Center.

    April 4, 2003: Jon Avnet

    Jon Avnet (see bio. above) joins others in the First Annual Entertainment Symposium.

    March 19, 2003: Dennis Barone

    Dennis Barone is a Professor of English at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of three books of short fiction: Abusing the Telephone (Drogue Press, 1994), The Returns (Sun & Moon Press, 1996), and Echoes (Potes & Poets Press, 1997). Echoes received the 1997 America Award for most outstanding book of fiction by a living American writer. He is also the author of a novella, Temple of the Rat (Left Hand Books, 2000), and he is editor of Beyond the Red Notebook: Essays on Paul Auster (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995). Most recently Quale Press published The Disguise of Events, a chapbook (July, 2002). Left Hand Books published his selected poems, entitled Separate Objects, in 1998. His essays on American literature and culture have appeared in journals such as American Studies, Critique, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction. A graduate of Bard College, he received his Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, and in 1992 he held the Thomas Jefferson Chair, a distinguished Fulbright lecturing award, in the Netherlands.

    March 3, 2003: Allie D'Augustine

    Allie D'Augustine (C '02) took part in a Live at the Writers House program. This program aired on 88.5 WXPN later in March.

    Allie D'Augustine writes poetry and prose. Her next nonfiction piece will be on the New York School of poets. Allie lives in Philadelphia and has a full schedule of poetry readings this spring, at Molly's Bookstore, the Kelly Writers House, and Robin's Bookstore.

    February 25, 2003: O.J. Lima

    O.J. Lima took part in a panel titled "Conversing with Critics: Reviewers Discuss Craft & Career" along with Anthony DeCurtis, Carrie Rickey, and Ken Tucker. The event was cosponsored with Career Services.

    Orlando J. Lima was an English major at the University of Pennsylvania (C '94). After his undergraduate education, he studied at the Teachers College of Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1996. Mr. Lima has extensive 8-year experience working in magazine publishing. He has done work with VIBE Magazine and Seventeen Magazine, working with and focusing on the editorial services of both, most times those that focused on the music industry. During this time, Mr. Lima appeared on various panels on television and radio stations commenting about his views on music, hip hop and popular culture, including popular music stations MTV and VH1. He has also traveled to various Universities lecturing about his views on music, hip hop and popular culture, including the University of Pennsylvania. Along with other works he has published in magazines, Mr. Lima contributed to the New York Times best-seller, Tupac Shakur (Crown).

    February 6, 2003: Harry Groome

    Harry Groome was featured along with Diane Ayres in the Local Spotlight Series. Harry Groome is a Penn graduate (College '63) and holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. His stories, poems, essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Aethlon, American Writing, Field & Stream, Fine Print, Gray's Sporting Journal and the Red River Review. He is the winner of the 2000 Authors in the Park Short Story Writing Contest, and a finalist for the William Faulkner Short Story Award (1997). Harry has recently finished his first novel, Wing Walking, and a story of his will be featured at the InterAct Theater on March 10th. He lives in Villanova with his wife, Lyn, and their two Labrador retrievers.

    February 3, 2003: Allie D'Augustine and Kerry Sherin Wright

    Allie D'Augustine (C '02) and Kerry Sherin Wright (C '87) took part in a Live at the Writers House program. This program aired on 88.5 WXPN later in February.

    Allie D'Augustine writes poetry and prose. Her next nonfiction piece will be on the New York School of poets. Allie lives in Philadelphia and has a full schedule of poetry readings this spring, at Molly's Bookstore, the Kelly Writers House, and Robin's Bookstore.

    Kerry Sherin Wright is the Director of the Kelly Writers House, and recently received her Ph.D. from Temple University. She has given readings at the Unitarian Church NotCoffeehouse Series, the Highwire Gallery, Hollins College, and Temple University. Her publications include poems in Poet Lore, Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, Combo, Capital, New England Review, fiction, freelance articles (most recently in Philadelphia Magazine), and reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    February 3, 2003: Blake Martin

    Blake Martin, recent graduate of the College, took part in a Live at the Writers House titled "Writers for Peace". Blake is a writer and photographer living in Philadelphia. His recent stories are born from his time as a foster care social worker here in Philadelphia.

    January 27-29, 2003: Andy Wolk

    Screenwriter, director, and Penn alumnus Andy Wolk visits for a three-day Symposium on Writing for Film, Theatre, and TV. For more details about the various programs occuring during those days, please see the calendar.

    Andy Wolk most recently directed the CBS hit A Town without Christmas starring Patricia Heaton and Peter Falk. Prior to that he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed and highly-rated Deliberate Intent for FX. Starting Timothy Hutton, it was called by the LA Times "taut, smart, provocative, well-acted and suspensefully directed." Mr. Wolk received his third Writer's Guild nomination for this movie. He also wrote and directed the much-lauded HBO drama Criminal Justice which made Time Magazine's "Ten Best" list and was named the best cable movie of the year. Starring Forest Whitaker and Rosie Perez, Criminal Justice also received the Silver Prize at FIPA in Cannes and was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award. Other cable movie credits include writing and directing The Defenders: Payback, Choice of Evils, and Taking the First, three movies for Paramount and Showtime starring Beau Bridges and E.G. Marshall and based on the classic 60s show. Other TV movies include Alibi, All Lies End in Murder, Mr. Rock 'N Roll, and Kiss and Tell. He has also directed The Sopranos and episodes of The Practice, NYPD Blue, Equal Justice and others. Andy Wolk's writing credits include Natica Jackson which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and won him the Writer's Guild Award. Most recently he adapted Elmore Leonard's Bandits for Miramax Films. Mr. Wolk's career started in the theater. For Lincoln Center he directed Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Winter's Tale, each of which had successful off-Broadway runs. He has had plays produced as a writer and director at Manhattan Theatre Club, LaMama, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and all over Europe. Andy Wolk has also been a Creative Advisor for the Sundance Labs and the Artistic Director for the Labs in 1996. This three-day workshop is modeled on the Sundance Labs.

    December 2, 2002: Michael Barsanti

    Michael Barsanti (recent Penn PhD in English) took part in a Live at the Writers House titled "Civic Culture - Art Culture - Philadelphia Culture Makers". Barsanti is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, where he works primarily with literary things. He has curated exhibitions and taught classes there on a wide variety of subjects, including portrait photography, wartime poetry, James Joyce manuscripts, and Shakespeare forgeries. He occasionally teaches classes at Penn on modernism and writing.

    November 20, 2002: Susan Shreve

    Susan Shreve has written 12 novels, the latest of which, Plum & Jaggers was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and is out now in paperback from Picador. She's also written 25 children's books for Knopf and co-edited four anthologies of original works of fiction on race, justice, progress and education. She is a professor of English in the MFA program at George Mason University and was a visitor for three years at Princeton in fiction and four years at Columbia Graduate School of the Arts. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She's presently working on a new novel A Student of Living Things.

    November 19, 2002: Josey Foo

    Josey Foo Josephine Foo (Josey Foo), a Chinese native of Malaysia, immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s. She was an undocumented alien for a few years after attending college and worked in New York City in carpentry, restaurant work, and other trades. The undocumented period ended when she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University in 1990. In 1997 she obtained a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and now works as a lawyer-advocate in Shiprock on the Navajo Nation. Portions of her first book of prose, poems and a picture story of a three-legged traveling beagle, Endou (Lost Roads) were included in The Best American Essays 1995. Her second book Tomie's Chair will be out from Kaya in Spring, 200February An evening-length concert dance piece set to her poems is forthcoming from the Leah Stein Dance Company, funded by DanceAdvance and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. She is published in various journals including The World, The American Voice, Open City, Upstairs At Duroc's (Paris), and the Philadelphia edition of The American Poetry Review. In addition to the NEA, she has received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and an Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award. A two-time Yale Series of Younger Poets finalist, she lives in Farmington, New Mexico where she and her husband Richard Ferguson run Crooked Shelf Books.

    November 6, 2002: John Norton

    John Norton's recent output might be called borderworks, pieces that deny easy categorization into poetry or prose. An experimental novella Re: Marriage (San Francisco: Black Star Series) was published in 2000. A book of prose poems and sketches The Light at the End of the Bog (San Francisco: Black Star Series, 1989, 1992) won an American Book Award. Both books are distributed by Small Press Distribution. A critical introduction to The Bog as well as excerpts have appeared in a variety of publications including The Before Columbus Poetry Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards 1980-1990 published by W. W. Norton. A language-oriented chapbook Posthum(or)ous was published by e. g. press. Other pieces have appeared in a variety of literary and online magazines, including New American Writing, CrossConnect, Kayak, Oxygen, Beatitude, Blue Unicorn, Onthebus, and Processed World. Works in progress include Nondisclosure Statements, an aleatory hypertext narrative, and Mental Reservations, a collection of new and selected poems.

    From 1990 through 1996 John was Board President of Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center, a non-profit organization in San Francisco. He currently serves on the Board of the Irish Arts Foundation. John Norton did graduate work in eighteenth-century literature at the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Ph, D) and taught at the University of California, Riverside. He currently works as a technical marketing writer and editor.

    October 23, 2002: Meredith Stiehm

    Meredith Stiehm was a writer and producer for the television series "ER" from 2000 to 200February As Co-Executive Producer of "ER" in 2001, she received an Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. As a writer and producer for "NYPD Blue" from 1996 to 2000, she received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series in 1999 and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, with David Milch, in 1998. She also wrote for "Northern Exposure" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" from 1994 to 1996.

    Last year, Stiehm wrote "A Fair and Even Chance," a television movie for ABC/Disney, about the first national spelling bee in 1908. Her co-writer was her sister Jamie Stiehm, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. She has also written plays produced in Los Angeles, among them "Little Rosa", "Holiday House/Between the White Curtains" and "Hallelujah Junction." Her 1993 musical, "Rules For Girls" was nominated by the LA Weekly as Musical of the Year.

    Stiehm was born in Madison, Wisconsin and grew up in Santa Monica, California. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 with a B.A. in English/Playwriting. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

    October 18, 2002: Jon Avnet

    In a talk titled "The Holocaust, the media, the power of propaganda," Jon Avnet will discuss his own film, Uprising, and other Holocaust-related films, their depictions of the events and their relevance to events of today, and the power of propaganda and the media from Goebels to the today's media as a government-controlled mouthpiece.

    Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Jon Avnet attended Penn in the late 1960's. Since then, he has gone on to become a successful feature film producer and director. Included in his directing credits are such successes as "Red Corner" (1997) with Richard Gere, "Up Close and Personal" (1996), featuring Michele Pfeifer and Robert Redford, and the critically acclaimed film "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991), starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. Over the past twenty years, Avnet has also produced a number of hit movies including "Risky Business" (1983), "Tango and Cash" (1989), "The Mighty Ducks" (1992), "The Three Musketeers" (1993), as well as the recent blockbuster "George of the Jungle" (1997). His recent film, Uprising, about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was aired onNBC in the fall of 2001.

    October 14, 2002: Paul Green

    The Paul Green School of Rock Music will provide music for Live at the Writers House. If you can't make this live recording, the show will be aired on October 20, 2002, on 88.5 WXPN.

    The Paul Green School of Rock Music is an interactive, performance based music school that operatives from the premise that the best way to learn to do anything, particularily music, is by doing it. The school therefore stages numerous concerts throughout the year featuring our students, all of which aspire to be real rock concerts, complete with professional equipment, light shows, and, when appropriate, smoke machines.

    The school's founder, Paul Green, recent Penn alumnus, less invented the idea than stumbled upon it. As a guitar teacher putting himself through college he began to have his students jam with one another on weekends. Noticing how much better they were learning music theory when thus applied, and excited by how good they were getting at actually playing, he staged his first concert in Old City on a First Friday in October 1998. It was an instant sensation, and the resulting press, word of mouth, and good will got the ball rolling towards the school's present condition.

    Currently The Paul Green School of Rock Music has over 100 students, taught by 14 fabulous teachers, who perform dozens of shows each year in front of thousands of fans.

    September 30, 2002: Tom Hartman

    Tom Hartman joins Scott Edward Anderson in reading from Ducky Magazine, which they edit.

    Writer and editor Tom Hartman is the founding editor of DUCKY. Previously a Senior Editor at Painted Bride Quarterly, his poems, essays, reviews and other writings have appeared in La Petite Zine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper and elsewhere. His interview with novelist Martin Amis appeared in DUCKY's inaugural issue. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Mr. Hartman is also the curator of the Nick Virgilio Poetry Project at Rutgers University--Camden.

    September 25, 2002: Jeremy Sigler

    Poet Jeremy Sigler will join current Penn graduate student Matt Hart to read from their poetry as a part of the Alumni Visitor Series.

    Jeremy Sigler is a writer, artist, and a teacher. He is the author of two books of poetry, To and To (1998), and Mallet Eyes (2000), both of which were published by Left Hand Books, a press which was founded by the late Fluxus artist, Dick Higgins. Sigler received his undergraduate degree in Painting from The University of Pennsylvania in 1991, and his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 1996. Sigler's poetry has appeared in The Hat and Pierogi Press, and his prose has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and index magazine. He has also published illustrations in the Dutch architecture magazine, Hunch. Sigler has shown his art work at Printed Matter, Artists' Space and Tricia Collins Gallery in New York. He is currently collaborating on a book with the painter Dan Walsh, which will be shown at Paula Cooper Gallery in the spring. He has also done collaborative art works with painters Jonathan Lasker and Peter Halley, and game designer Eric Zimmerman. He teaches at Yale University and the Maryland Institute College of Art and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    September 24, 2002: Kate Egan

    Kate Egan (Penn MFA '01) will join with other short video and film collaborators for "SIGHT: Poetry in Collaboration with Video and Film" curated by the St. Mark's Poetry Project and hosted by Joanna Fuhrman.

    2001-2002

    April 8, 2002: Lisa Scottoline

    New York Times best-selling author Lisa Scottoline read from her recent fiction and held a conversation and Q&A about practical publishing and the writing career.

    Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times best selling author who writes legal thrillers, which draw on her experience as a trial lawyer at a prestigious Philadelphia law firm and also her clerkships in the state and federal systems of justice. She is an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and its law school, where she was associate editor of the Law Review. Scottoline won the premier award in suspense fiction, the Edgar Award, for her second legal thriller, Final Appeal. Her books are used by bar associations for the issues of legal ethics they present and she has lectured on the subject at law schools around the country. Her book Rough Justice was People Magazine's "Page-Turner of the Week" and Legal Tender was chosen as Cosmopolitan Magazine's premier book club selection. A native Philadelphian, she lives with her family in the Philadelphia area.

    April 2, 2002: Vladislov Toderov

    Vladislov Todorov visited the house as a guest lecturer for the Kelly Writers House Theorizing series.

    Vladislov Todorov currently lectures in literature and cultural history at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently published work includes Red Square, Black Square: Organon for Revolutionary Imagination (Suny, 1995), and two collections of essays and creative works in Bulgarian, The Adam Complex (1991) and The Paradox of Theater and Other Figures of Life (1998). He has also contributed to a representative collection of experimental prose, Post-theory, Games, and Discursive Resistance: The Bulgarian Case (SUNY, 1995). A piece of short fiction, "The Four Luxemburgs," appeared in Postmodern Culture (1993); philosophical critical essays have been published by journals including the Yale Journal of Criticism, L'infini and College Literature. His work has been translated into French, German, Russian, Czech and Hungarian. He holds a Ph.D. in Aesthetics (1987) from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and a Ph.D. in Russian Studies (1996) from the University of Pennsylvania.

    April 1, 2002: Julie Gerstein and Jennifer Snead

    Alums Julie Gerstein and Jennifer Snead joined other writers and performers in April's month's taping of Live at the Writers House, a one-hour word and music radio show that tapes at the Kelly Writers House. The show aired at 11 PM on April 7 on 88.5 WXPN.

    March 19, 2002: Laura Goldstein

    Alumna Laura Goldstein joins two other local poets, Eli Goldblatt and Chris McCreary, for "Spring Local Spotlight #3.

    Laura Goldstein is a poet finishing up her M.A. in Creative Writing at Temple and received her undergraduate degree at Penn. She currently instructs an undergraduate poetry workshop at Temple and works as the Direct Service Coordinator for the Young Scholar's Program in Temple's Department of School and Community Partnerships. She is working on her first book of poetry and is in the process of planning a Philadelphia Poetry Collective in which area poets share their work and bring their expertise to the community.

    February 25, 2002: Jim Gladstone

    Jim Gladstone, the author of the new novel The Big Book of Misunderstanding, is a 1988 Penn graduate (SAS, American Civilization) and widely published critic and cultural commentator. His book critiques have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, and his coverage of travel, popular music, film, and the publishing world have appeared in over a dozen major daily newspapers and national magazines - from Billboard to P.O.V. As a Penn undergraduate, Gladstone was an editor at 34th Street, where his expose on shady dealings in the phone sex industry attracted the attention of the Philadelphia Inquirer and led to the start of his professional writing career. Gladstone maintains a home in University City, but currently lives in Paris where he is working on a second novel and several non-fiction book projects.

    February 13, 2002: Rachel Solar-Tuttle

    Rachel Solar-Tuttle's new book Number 6 Fumbles is being published in February 2002. She is a graduate of the College (1992) and of Penn's law school (1995). Students interested in writing as a career are invited to meet her and discuss her career as lawyer, freelance writer, and novelist.

    January 22, 2002: Sheryl Simons

    The Business of Writing: Sheryl Simons will discuss building a freelance writing career and provide an Overview of marketing, web-based strategies, contracts and copyrights. This program is designed as an introductory workshop. Handouts will be available.

    Sheryl P. Simons is a foreign correspondent with EPN World based in Paris and a regular contributor to Faulkner Information Services. She has interviewed many of the top executives in high tech including Patrick J. Spain, CEO of Hoover's Online, Peter DePasquale, CEO of DW Interactive, and Rob Granader, CEO of Marketresearch.com. Her publishing credits include: VAR Business Magazine, Intelligent Enterprise, InfoCommerce Reports, American Writer Magazine, Collaboratek, The Kauffman Group and SAP America's Portal. For radio, on behalf of Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline, she has written more than 100 features which are heard in 660 US markets and 140 countries through the Armed Forces Radio Network. Representing the Philadelphia Local, she was a delegate to the National Writer's Union annual convention in 2001. She earned her MBA from the Wharton School.

    December 3, 2001: Brendan Cahill

    Alumnus Brendan Cahill joins new novelist Tom Coyne for a lunch and conversation, hosted by Karen Rile.

    After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and working as an editor at Running Press in Philadelphia, Brendan Cahill joined Grove/Atlantic in the fall of 1998, where he acquires and edits literary fiction and non-fiction. He has edited over forty non-fiction titles for Grove Press and Atlantic Monthly Press in categories including history, biography, science, narrative journalism, and memoir and has worked with such non-fiction authors as Michael Herr, James MacGregor Burns, Anthony Loyd, and Madeleine Blais. The fiction writers he has edited include Stewart O'Nan, Tom Coyne, and Marc Nesbitt.

    November 13, 2001: Melissa Goldstein

    Melissa Goldstein's compelling first book Travels with the Wolf (Ohio State University Press, 2000) is an autobiographical account of her experiences with chronic illness, coming of age--becoming a young woman, a writer and a teacher in the presence of severe, often debilitating disease (lupus). The book explores relationships with family and friends as the illness progresses and records Goldstein's struggle to maintain independence and identity.

    September 23, 2001: Dickinson Alumni Writing Group

    Alumna Karen Nevers leads this Writing Group.

    2000-2001

    March 29, 2001: C.K. Williams

    An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, C.K. Williams is the author of over 15 books of poetry, essays, and translations from Sophocles, Euripides, and the French prose-poet Francis Ponge. He has edited The Selected and Last Poems of Paul Zweig, as well as The Essential Gerard Manley Hopkins. His many honors include Guggenheim and National Endowment Fellowships, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award for literature, and the PEN/Voekler Career Achievement Award in poetry. His poetry collection, Flesh and Blood won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1987, and his latest book of poetry, Repair, won the Los Angeles Times Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for 2000. He teaches writing and literature at Princeton University. This event is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, and the School of Arts and Sciences.

    March 23, 2001: Meg Lenihan and Caryn Karmatz-Rudy

    The Book Deal and Beyond: Alumni Speak about the Publishing Process

    A 1991 graduate of UPenn with a degree in English, Meg Lenihan began her publishing career in 1992 as promotion assistant at Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House. After 2 years of learning the publicity and marketing ropes, she moved onto Putnam Penguin where she worked as publicist for several bestselling authors including, Charles Kuralt, Bebe Moore Campbell and Anchee Min. A few years later, she moved onto Viking Penguin as a Senior Publicist, working on the publicity campaigns for authors such as Anna Quindlan and William Kennedy. After six years in the New York City publishing scene, Meg decided to make a change and moved across the country to San Francisco. There, she became the Associate Publicity Director at HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins. At HarperSanFrancisco, Meg ran the publicity department, became more involved with various marketing activities, and worked on the publicity campaigns for celebrities such as Johnny Cash and Sidney Poitier. After two and half years at Harper, Meg decided to join the dot com arena. Currently, she is Senior Product Marketing Manager for Fatbrain.com, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble.com. Meg is responsible for all merchandising and marketing activities on their General Interest and Business bookstores.

    Caryn Karmatz Rudy is a Senior Editor at Warner Books, a highly commercial trade publishing house in Manhattan. Her areas of focus are women's interest non-fiction and women's commercial fiction; over her six years in publishing she has worked on books ranging from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider to a lot of novels and works of nonfiction. Caryn was an English major at Penn, and graduated in 1992.

    February 16, 2001: Stephanie Tuck, Eliot Kaplan, O.J. Lima, Beth Kwon, and Caroline Waxler

    Careers in Magazine Journalism: a mini-conference co-sponsored by Penn's Career Center. Each of the panelists will talk for about 5-10 minutes, focusing first on their own personal experiences in the magazine industry and sharing their insights about how to make a career in magazine journalism. Panelists will also speak about the magazine business itself: how they all perceive the role of magazines in our culture and economy, how they feel about being affiliated with the industry. Q&A will be followed be a reception.

    Stephanie Tuck is a senior editor at InStyle magazine. She began her career at W magazine as assistant beauty editor. She wrote and edited beauty stories and wrote feature stories for Women's Wear Daily. After that she was a freelance writer for the Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Mademoiselle, YM and other magazines and the fashion/beauty editor at a test of teen Elle (the test failed.) In 1995 she become beauty editor of InStyle and in 1998 a senior editor.

    Eliot Kaplan is the Editorial Talent Director for Hearst Magazines, a unique position of scouting and recruiting the nation's top editors, writers and art directors for the company's 16 magazines and start-up ventures. These magazines include Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and O:The Oprah Magazine. Kaplan himself has had a distinguished career in magazine editing. In his seven years as editor-in-chief, Philadelphia Magazine won two National Magazine Awards--the field's Pulitzer. Media Week named him one of a handful of "Young Editors to Watch" during the next generation, and alumni of his tenure went to work for more than a dozen national magazines, including Vanity Fair, New York, GQ, Men's Health, Sports Illustrated, Money, Men's Journal, ESPN and Cosmopolitan. Before joining Philadelphia, Kaplan was managing editor of Gentlemen's Quarterly. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Kaplan was co-editor of 34th Street, and was mentored by the late, great Nora Magid and her non-fiction English courses.

    O.J. Lima is from Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Penn with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish in 1994. He moved to NYC and earned an MA in education from Columbia Teachers College. He's done some middle school, high school and junior college teaching but mainly he has been working in magazine publishing for the past 6 years and change at Vibe, 17, Blaze magazines. He's been a research chief, music editor, managing editor and now a special projects editor.

    Beth Kwon is a staff writer at Fortune Small Business magazine, and a columnist for Time Out New York. She began her career in journalism as an intern at Philadelphia Magazine while she was at Penn. After graduation she taught English for two years in South Korea, then moved to New York and started working in the letters department at Newsweek. From there she moved into editorial and eventually covered technology, and wrote political and trend items for the front of the book Periscope section. Before coming to Fortune she made a brief stop at the online financial site TheStreet.com where she covered IPOs and Internet culture. Beth also publishes a personal zine, called BK1.

    Caroline Waxler is the Markets Writer at eCompany Now magazine in San Francisco. She joined the publication from Forbes in New York, where she had worked for five years, first as a reporter and then as a writer and stock columnist. She helped start eCompany--a spin-off of Fortune and one of the most successful magazine launches for Time Inc--defining the magazine's investing and personal finance coverage as its Markets Editor. Now that the magazine is past its launch phase, she will be focusing on writing finance and investigative feature stories. She began her journalism career at Penn as the editor of Punch Bowl and an intern at Philadelphia Magazine. After graduation, she worked in Newsweek's letters department, where she also contributed fashion trend pieces to the "Periscope" pages as well as wrote for the lifestyle section.

    November 11, 2000: Alice Elliott Dark and Larry Dark

    Join fellow alumni, participants in the College of General Studies Writers' Conference, and members of the Writers House community for a reception with two of Penn's distinguished writers. Hosted by the CGS Sixth Annual Writers' Conference and the Kelly Writers House.

    Alice Elliott Dark,CAS '76, is the author of two story collections, Naked to the Waist and In the Gloaming, the latter of which was made into two films. Her writing has appeared in Harper's, DoubleTake, The New Yorker, and in many anthologies, including Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and The Best American Short Stories of the Century.

    Larry Dark, CAS '81, is series editor of Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. He was also the editor of four anthologies: Literary Outtakes, The Literary Ghost, The Literary Lover, and The Literary Traveler.

    October 4, 2000: Brian Peterson

    Brian Peterson was born in Harrisburg, PA on December 24, 1971, and resided there until leaving for the University of Pennsylvania to study computer science and engineering in 1989. While at Penn he became very involved in the National Society of Black Engineers, Positive Images (a tutoring/mentoring program), The Vision (an independent paper on campus focussing on African-American concerns) and W.E.B. DuBois College House (his dormitory for 4 years). He graduated from Penn in 1993 with a BSE in Computer Science and Engineering and a minor in African American studies. He remained in the Philadelphia area after graduation and began working at Penn in a computer/technical support position. He eventually shifted departments and became the coordinator for the Residential Computing Labs at Penn (the position he currently hold). In 1995 he began taking classes again part time, and in 1997 he received his Master's in Secondary Education, specializing in Mathematics. During his time in graduate school, and for a few years to follow, he was fortunate enough to "return home" so-to-speak by joining the residence staff of DuBois College House. There, he was an Education Fellow and Graduate Associate, responsible for assisting in organizing cultural and academic programs for approximately 180 residents, as well as the broader African-American community at Penn. In January 2000, through his connection with the DuBois College House, he, along with several undergraduate students, began an African-centered Saturday school for area junior high students called Ase (ah-shay). He was on the development team and functioned as the mathematics instructor for the program.

    September 19, 2000: Adam Sexton

    Adam Sexton is Dean of Faculty at Gotham Writers' Workshop, New York City's largest school of creative writing, and an alumnus of Penn's College of Arts and Sciences (B.A. in English, 1984). At Penn he wrote for the D .P. and 34th Street and the Summer Pennsylvanian for two years. Mr. Sexton received his MFA in 1993 from the Writing Division at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Since then he has been a teacher of writing at Rutgers, Marymount Manhattan College, and for Gotham; under the auspices of the latter he has taught 50 or so 10-week and One-Day workshops.

    This program will discuss and emphasize story structure. That is, what exactly makes a story a story, and how can a fledgling writer construct one that will satisfy an audience's expectations regarding the form? Following Mr. Sexton's lecture he will lead a writing exercise that guides students through the creation of an outline for a story they can write on their own, after which he will try to answer any questions the audience may have about the fundamentals of storytelling as well as questions about Master's programs in creative writing.

    1999-2000

    April 10, 2000: Cheryl Family

    Cheryl Family is currently Vice President/Editorial Director of MTV Networks. In additon to overseeing all of the company's off-air print, video and multimedia creative materials, she is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of The Pages, MTV Networks' award-winning global magazine, both in print and online. Her creative work for MTV Networks and Viacom has earned all of the top honors in the field, including the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Broadcast Designers Association, Creative, Cable Television and Marketing Association and Promax awards. Ms. Family is also the author of Case #77 of the Nancy Drew Files, Danger on Parade, for MegaBooks/Simon & Schuster, and has created storylines for the Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon cartoon Doug. Her short story "Good Night, Pigskin" was a winner in Sassy Magazine's "Best Short Story in the World" contest, and appeared in the publication's July 1989 issue. Her magazine work has appeared in many publications, and she has done freelance advertising work for clients as diverse as Lifetime Television, Emporio Armani, Barnes and Noble and the Broadway show Rent, among many others. Ms. Family graduated cum laude from UPenn, where she was City Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. She recently served as Vice President of the newspaper's Alumni Board of Directors. Ms. Family also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communications from New York University, where she was named a Centennial Scholar.

    March 21, 2000: Michael Bamberger

    Michael Bamberger is a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, which he joined in September 1995. Previously he worked for nine years as a general assignment reporter and sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and before that wrote for the (Martha's) Vineyard Gazette . His versatility as a writer and lucid, open style have quickly become the hallmark of his work. Before coming to Sports Illustrated, Bamberger published two books about golf: The Green Road Home (1986), about his experience as a caddie on the PGA tour, and To the Linksland (1992), about golf on the European tour and in Scotland. In March 1996, his play, Bart & Fay (based on the longtime friendship of Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent), made its debut in Philadelphia. Bamberger was born and raised in Patchogue, New York, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982. He enjoys skiing and body-surfing and lives in the West Mount Airy section of Philadelphia with his wife Christine and their two children, Ian and Alina.

    February 11, 2000: Martin Cruz Smith

    Born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1942 to John Calhoun Smith, a jazz saxophonist, and Louise Lopez Smith, a big band singer, Martin Cruz Smith chose to follow a different creative pursuit from that of his parents: creative writing. Along the difficult road to his first best seller, Gorky Park, in 1981, Smith held various jobs - from a newspaper writer for the Philadelphia Daily News to a Camden ice cream vendor to a cheesecake men's magazine editor and a Madrid salesman. Martin Cruz Smith entered the University of Pennsylvania with the intention of becoming a sociologist but switched to creative writing after failing statistics. Inspired by a trip to Russia in 1973, Martin Cruz Smith spent nine years researching and writing Gorky Park. Slowed by a false start with the publishing house that first bought the rights to the book, Smith was able to buy the book rights back and sell it to Random House to be published in 1981. Gorky Park was followed by Polar Star in 1989, Red Square in 1992 and now Havana Bay in 1999. Smith has also written Rose, a book about nineteenth century female mining workers in the town of Wigan in England and Stallion Gate, about the birth of the atomic bomb in New Mexico. He currently resides in California with his wife and three children. For the full text of this bio, click here.

    February 1, 2000: James Morrow

    James Morrow will be reading from his most recently published novel, The Eternal Footman, as well as a work in progress, The Last Witchfinder. He will also talk with students about the relationship between his academic studies as a Penn student and his career as a full-time novelist.

    A Philadelphia native, James Morrow was born in 1947. He holds a BA in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Pennsylvania and an MAT in Visual Studies from Harvard University. His novels blend satire, science fiction, and philosophy. This Is the Way the World Ends (1986), a nuclear war comedy, was the BBC's choice as best science fiction novel of the year. Only Begotten Daughter (1990), a sequel to the New Testament, won the World Fantasy Award. Towing Jehovah (1994), a Nietzschean nautical adventure about the death of God, also won the World Fantasy Award. Blameless in Abaddon (1996), a modern-dress retelling of the Book of Job, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. The Eternal Footman, the final volume in the Godhead Trilogy, has just been released in hardcover. Morrow's novel-in-progress is The Last Witchfinder, which chronicles the birth of the scientific worldview. He writes full time in State College, Pennsylvania, sharing accommodations with his wife, Kathryn, his ten-year-old son, Christopher, and two enigmatic dogs: Pooka, an SPCA Border Collie, and Amtrak, a Doberman mix that he and Kathy rescued from a train station in Orlando.

    January 25, 2000: The Craft of Screenwriting: an Alumni-Student Workshop

    This workshop features alumni screenwriters Stuart Gibbs and David Stern. Hosted by the Talking Film Series, Student Performing Arts, and the Kelly Writers House.

    Stuart Gibbs has written "Disaster Area" for Fox, "Witchhunt" for MGM, "See Spot Run" for Warner Brothers, and "Mickey's Three Musketeers" for Disney animation. Two of his films, "The Return of the World's Most Rotten Lover" and "Repli-Kate" are being financed independently by international investors, and he is at work on "The Random Games" for New Line Cinema. Despite all this, the only big budget feature work he's done that has made it to the screen was the lines he wrote for Bartok, the animated bat in Fox's "Anastasia." (They were pretty funny lines, though.)

    David Stern began his career working in the New York theater for Director/Lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. During his tenure with Maltby, he worked on the Broadway productions of "Miss Saigon", "Nick & Nora", and "Big" as well as a myriad of other smaller projects. Simultaneously, he began his theater writing career. He wrote the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue "Some Enchanted Evening" (Tour), the plays "Dreams & Stuff" (John Houseman Theater) and "Finders of Lost Luggage", the radio program "The 1990's Radio Hour and a Half" (National Public Radio), and the musical "Snapshots" (Westport Country Playhouse, Virginia Stage). David took a small detour into directing with the New York revival of "Starting Here, Starting Now" (nominated for a MAC Award) and a stint with The American Project at Circle in the Square. After his six years in New York, David migrated west to Los Angeles. There he wrote "Geppetto" for The Wonderful World of Disney (starring Drew Carey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), "The Muppets Return", and "Wish" (for director Ivan Reitman). He is currently writing "Gettysburgville" for Disney and director Jon Turtletaub. All that being said, David's proudest accomplishment is writing the December 1997 Harper's Magazine cryptic crossword puzzle with his co-conspirator, Stephen Schwartz.

    November 16, 1999: Alec Sokolow

    Alec Sokolow is a Penn alumnus, and he has written the scripts for Toy Story, which received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and the film Goodbye Lover which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and released last year. He has written or co-written about twenty feature length screenplays, including an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats and a sequel to The Mask.

    November 6, 1999: Alumni Perform Their Own Writings

    Not quite a "poetry slam," not quite a nightclub improv, not quite a coffee house, not quite a variety show, this informal evening program will feature a great range of talented alumni writers and spoken-word performers. Refreshments served from the famed Writers House kitchen. Hosted by Class of 1942 Professor of English and Kelly Writers House Faculty Director Al Filreis.

    October 28, 1999: Caren Lissner and Josh Piven

    "How to Get Published"

    Caren Lissner, CAS '93, has had fiction published in JANE Magazine and has published humorous essays and satire in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Harper's, Weatherwise Magazine and the Pennsylvania Gazette. She is the managing editor of a chain of weekly newspapers based in Hoboken, NJ. On the side, she is currently at work on a comic novel. At Penn, she was a beat reporter and columnist for the DP.

    Josh Piven, CAS '93, started out as the New Products Editor for Computer Shopper Magazine, then the Senior Editor for Computer Technology Review Magazine, and has written a book The Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide (Chronicle, 1999). He is currently a freelance journalist and writes for Business Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Weekly, Success Magazine, and Travel and Leisure, among others.

    September 23, 1999: Jazz publisher Evan Sarzin

    Evan Sarzin is a publisher of jazz and, more recently, world music. He'll visit Writers House to talk about forms of music publishing, copyright vs. public domain issues, transcriptions and arrangements, improvisations and chord changes, the business of publishing and distribution, and writing and self-publishing. For more information about Gerard and Sarzin Publishing Company, visit their website.

    1998-1999

    March 30, 1999: Kathy DeMarco

    Kathy DeMarco is a writer and producer at John Leguizamo's film production company Lower East Side Films. Presented by Talking Film.

    March 24, 1999: Sabrina Eaton

    Sabrina Eaton graduated from Penn in 1985. While she was at Penn, she reported for the DP, was the Editor-in-Chief for Street, was named a Columnist of the Year, and interned at Inside Magazine and Time Incorporated, among others. After graduation Eaton worked for a number of small papers, eventually becoming the Washington correspondent for the States News Service, where she covered the Missouri delegation for the St. Louis Sun and other newspapers for a combined circulation of 800,000. She has been the Washington correspondent for the Cleveland, OH Plain Dealer since 1990, covering the Ohio Congressional delegation and politics.

    March 19, 1999: Caryn Karmatz-Rudy and Celina Spiegel

    Caryn Karmatz Rudy is a Senior Editor at Warner Books, a highly commercial trade publishing house in Manhattan. Her areas of focus are women's interest non-fiction and women's commercial fiction; over her six years in publishing she has worked on books ranging from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider to a lot of novels and works of nonfiction. Caryn was an English major at Penn, and graduated in 1992. She is thrilled to be visiting Writers House for the first time and very jealous of those undergraduates who can benefit from this remarkable program.

    Celina (Cindy) Spiegel is Co-Editorial Director at Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Putman. The nonfiction she has published includes Harold Bloom's Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, James McBride's The Color of Water, and the books of Kathleen Norris, the most recent of which is Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. The fiction she has published includes Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker, Pearl Abraham's Giving Up America, and The Romance Reader, Alex Garland's The Tesseract and The Beach, Aryeh Lev Stollman's The Far Euphrates, and Danzy Senna's Caucasia. Before coming to Riverhead in 1989 as a founding editor, she was an associate editor at Ticknor & Fields, and began her publishing career in the College Division of Random House/Knopf. She is also the co-editor, with Christine Buchmann, of the anthology Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible and, with Peter Kupfer, of Great First Lines: Literature's Most Memorable First Sentences.

    February 28, 1999: J. Robert Lennon

    J. Robert Lennon is the author of The Light of Falling Stars, which won Barnes & Noble's 1997 Discover Great New Writers Award. His short fiction has appeared in Story, Fiction, and American Short Fiction. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York.

    January 18, 1999: Sherman Labovitz

    Sherman Labovitz

    Sherman Labovitz is the author of Being Red in Philadelphia: A Memoir of the McCarthy Era. He left the Communist Party in 1957 and became a college professor, establishing a program in social work at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He will be introduced by Ira Schwartz, Dean of the School of Social Work. Click here for more on this program.

    December 7, 1998: Loretta Barrett

    Loretta Barrett is a literary agent. She returns to the Writers House for a special workshop on how to publish your writing. Co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences.

    November 17, 1998: Stephen Fried

    Stephen Fried, author of Bitter Pills (Bantam, 1998), is an investigative journalist. His work has appeared frequently in Vanity Fair, The Washington Post Magazine, Glamour, GQ, and Philadelphia magazine, and his articles on drug safety brought him his second consecutive National Magazine Award, the highest honor in magazine journalism. His previous book was the widely praised Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, the writer Diane Ayres. Please see his homepage for more information.

    October 31, 1998 - December 15, 1998: Alumni Art Exhibit

    Located in the Kelly Writers House, this exhibit features Scott Wright, John McGiff, Eva Mantell, Emily Steinberg, and others.

    October 30, 1998: Larry Dark and Tina Pohlmann

    Larry Dark has been the series editor of PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS since 1995. Before that he was the editor of four anthologies: LITERARY OUTTAKES (Ballantine, 1990), THE LITERARY GHOST (The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991), THE LITERARY LOVER (Viking, 1993), and THE LITERARY TRAVELER (Viking, 1994). He has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania (1981) and an MFA from Columbia University (1989). He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Alice Elliott Dark, a fiction writer and Penn graduate, and their son. Joining Larry on October 30 will be Tina Pohlman, a Penn alumna and Larry's editor at Anchor Books.

    PRIZE STORIES: THE O. HENRY AWARDS is an annual anthology of the year's best stories written by U.S. and Canadian writers and published in the approximately 250 U.S. and Canadian mag azines consulted for the series. The awards were established in 1919 and have been published by Doubleday since that time. The series editor, Larry Dark, chooses 20 stories each year from among the 3,000 or so he reads. Since 1997, the top-three prize win ners have been chosen from among these 20 stories by a three-member jury of writers. In 1998, the jurors were: Andrea Barrett, Mary Gaitskill, and Rick Moody.

    October 2, 1998: Jon Avnet

    Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Jon Avnet attended Penn in the late 1960's. Since then, he has gone on to become a successful feature film producer and director. Included in his directing credits are such successes as "Red Corner" (1997) with Richard Gere, "Up Close and Personal" (1996), featuring Michele Pfeifer and Robert Redford, and the critically acclaimed film "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991), starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy. Over the past twenty years, Avnet has also produced a number of hit movies including "Risky Business" (1983), "Tango and Cash" (1989), "The Mighty Ducks" (1992), "The Three Musketeers" (1993), as well as the recent blockbuster "George of the Jungle" (1997).

    October 1, 1998: Shawn Walker

    BERNADETTE MAYER CELEBRATION: Poet and alumna Shawn Walker joins poets Ange Mlinko, Shawn Walker, Lee Ann Brown and Bernadette Mayer for a tribute and reading. Walker is one of the founders and a long-time friend of the Kelly Writers House.

    September 23, 1998: Lorene Cary

    The New York Times Book Review calls Lorene Cary "a powerful storyteller, frankly sensual, mortally funny, gifted with an ear for the pounce [of] real speech," and describes The Price of a Child, Cary's novel about the Underground Railroad, as "a generous, sardonic, full-blooded work of fiction" (Knopf, 1995; Vintage, pap., 1996). Cary graduated with a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 and earned an M.A. in Victorian Literature at Sussex University in 1980. Cary is also the author of Black Ice and Pride, which tells the story of four strong-willed and accomplished black women who learn loss and triumph as maternal passion, addiction, betrayal, ambition, and violence transform their friendships and their lives.

    September 14, 1998: Nijmie Dzurinko

    In the season opener of LIVE at the Writers House, alumna Nijmie Dzurinko joins other artists, including the poet Rachel Blau DuPlessis.

    1997-1998

    May 21, 1998: Sharon Glassman

    Sharon Glassman, C '84, is a monologist. Her latest show, Brenda Builds a Pool, debuted at dance Theatre Workshop in New York in October of 1998.

    April 6, 1998: Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Egan, author of The Invisible Circus and Emerald City (Picador USA), is a Thouron Fellow and a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her stories & nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, Mademoiselle, Ploughshares, and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in New York City.

    March 30, 1998: Andy Robinson

    Since graduating from Penn in 1981, Andy Robinson has worked with a variety of social change organizations as a grantwriter, fundraiser, editor and community organizer. He currently serves as developmental consultant to The Wildlands Project, an international conservation group based in Tucson. Andy's book, Grassroots Grants: An Activist's Guide to Proposal Writing, was published in 1996 by Chardon Press.

    February 26, 1998: Buzz Bissinger

    Buzz Bissinger is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of A Prayer for the City and Friday Night Lights, visited 2/26/98. (Co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences College Alumni Society)

    February 25, 1998: John Prendergast and Carole Bernstein

    John Prendergast and Carole Bernstein John Prendergast is a novelist and the editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette. Carol Bernstein is a poet. Her first book of poems is Familiar.

    January 28, 1998: Loretta Barrett

    Loretta Barrett is a literary agent and the principle in Barrett Books. Co-sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences.

    November 23, 1997: Andy Wolk

    Andy Wolk has written scripts for United Artists, MGM, Miramax, HBO and PBS. He received a Writers Guild Award and in 1996 was the artistic director for the Sundance Institute.

    November 7, 1997: Betsy Andrews and Eva Mantell

    Betsy Andrews, C'85, is a poet and artist whose poems have been published in Conjunctions, Phoebe and other magazines.

    Eva Mantell, C'85, is a writer and performance artist whose work has been exhibited at the Kitchen, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and LaMama, among other places.

    October 22, 1997: Gilbert Sandler

    Gilbert Sandler

    Gilbert Sandler, C'49, is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun.

    September 23, 1997: Mark Cohen

    Mark Cohen, C'84, is Executive Editor of Philadelphia Magazine.

    January 26, 1997: Diana Cavallo

    Diana Cavallo, C'84, is novelist and current member of the English department faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-sponsored by the English Department.