KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2014-2015

The staff is an integral part of the House, coming together with the Planning Committee to generate ideas, as well as ensuring that readings, musical performances, screenings, publicity, and fundraising plans go off without a hitch. We are open to ideas, questions and comments you may have, so drop us a line.

Faculty Director: Al Filreis

Al Filreis

Al is Kelly Professor of English and Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and is one of the founders of the Writers House, along with an intrepid group of students, faculty and staff whom he led into the cottage at 3805 Locust back in October of 1995. He has been the Faculty Director of the Writers House ever since. He has taught the Writers House Fellows seminar since 2000, and created the Writers House Book Groups among other projects; he has won the Lindback Award and the Meyer Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching and was chosen as the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 1999. He has published books on modern poetry and has written extensively on poetry and politics and radical literary generations. Here is Al's web site.


Director: Jessica Lowenthal

Jessica Lowenthal

Jessica has been the Director of Kelly Writers House since 2005, and an active member of its Planning Committee since 2003. As of 2010 she's the associate publisher of Jacket2. In 2009, Jessica's daughter Alice (pictured, reading spreadsheets) joined the KWH community. Jessica holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop, an MA in English from Penn, and an AB in English from Brown -- and she's putting her education to work daily, directing the activities of this vibrant and experimental literary community. Jessica's reading interests are eclectic: she loves experimental poetry, trashy novels, cookbooks, and the Philly weeklies. Visit Jessica in room 109 (all the way in the back of the house) and you'll find her eager to talk about ways you can get involved in the Writers House community.


Program Coordinator: Alli Katz

Alli Katz

Alli Katz is the Program Coordinator for the Kelly Writers House. Though she still considers herself a Chicagoan, she’s lived in Philadelphia since graduating Oberlin College in 2006 -- around the time she learned about the beauty of the Writers House kitchen. She’s taught comic book workshops to 11-year-olds at Mighty Writers, worked at the Free Library of Philadelphia, has written for Philadelphia Weekly and City Paper, and is a pretty good etch-a-sketcher. Her dream is to own enough Nabokov paperbacks to build a book fort for her very large cat, Albany. You can find Alli in the Hub office to talk about graphic novels, the Algonquin Round Table, the 1989 NBC primetime lineup, and working for KWH.


Financial Coordinator: Andrew Beal

Andrew Beal: originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio and a proud graduate of Miami University in Theater and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Printmaking. A long-time staff member at the historic Plays & Players Theater and happily the Financial Coordinator here at the Kelly Writers House. Married, also happily, to Rachel.


Associate Director for Recruitment: Jamie-Lee Josselyn

Jamie-Lee Josselyn

Jamie-Lee Josselyn is from Epping, New Hampshire, and has lived in Philadelphia since 2001. She received a BA from Penn in English and French and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and she has taught creative writing in a few places, including at Penn and in St. Paul's School's Advanced Studies Program. Jamie-Lee has published personal essays on topics ranging from her mother's life and death to her experience attending cat shows. When not on campus, Jamie-Lee may be performing some feat of endurance: running a long way, biking an even longer way, or consuming a massive quantity of food. She has a cat named Alfred J. Pancake whose friends call him "Alfie" and another cat named Bones whose nickname is "Tubby." She also has a dog named Primo who has so much character, he doesn't need a nickname.


Administrative "Sass"istant: Erin Peraza

Erin Peraza

Erin greets the world and all of its many obstacles like so. (see photo)



Assistant Director for Development: Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse likes making things. Current favorite media: yarn, paper, photography, food, bodies, words.


Associate Director: Julia Bloch

Julia Bloch

Julia has been a member of the Writers House Planning Committee since 2005; from 2006 to 2011 she curated the Emergency reading series in the Arts Cafe. She holds an MFA in poetry from Mills College and a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and taught literature for two years in the Bard College MAT program; in 2013, she became associate director of the Writers House, where she teaches in the creative writing program and helps to manage various digital and educational outreach programs, from ModPo to book groups to Jacket2, the online journal of poetry and poetics. She writes poetry, reviews, and criticism, and loves South Philly, even though she's still a Californian at heart.


Wexler Studio Coordinator: Zach Carduner

Zach Carduner

Zach spent his childhood designing his own SEPTA timetables and dreamt of one day becoming an El train. Now he officially works as the coordinator of the Writers House's new Wexler Recording Studio, which, though less illustrious than living as a form of public transportation, is still a pretty sweet gig.


Creative Ventures Program Assistant: Maya Arthur

Maya ArthurMaya’s catchphrases are “You’re fine!” and “It’s all good!” Tell her when she says them so she can stop. Maya is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, hoping to major in Communications and minor in GSWS – she’s not sure if this will actually happen. Hailing from Maryland, she loves crab cakes, Old Bay and Stringer Bell from The Wire respectively. Her three loves are Zora Neale Hurston, Solange Knowles and dogs. She will one day start an Instagram called “lemmerateyourdogz.” She just keeps forgetting.


Program Assistant: Amelia Bentley

Amelia Bentley

Amelia Bentley is currently on leave. If Amelia ever tires of journalism, she'd be perfect for hairdressing.
amelia bentley is most likely to live in Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, and Utah ...
Amelia Bentley is saying about this Meetup Group. I'm so happy you exist.
Registered users can see what Amelia Bentley is up to.
Amelia Bentley is on Facebook.
AMELIA BENTLEY is the author of the chapbook "& parts" (projected release Jan. 2013 from Damask Press).
Find where Amelia Bentley is credited alongside another name.
Find out what Amelia Bentley is doing right now,
Amelia Bentley is from: World ». Country, Population, Coverage, Distance ...
Amelia Bentley is going.
Amelia Bentley is on Facebook.
Amelia Bentley is on Facebook.
Amelia Bentley is on Facebook.


Program Assistant: Camara Brown

Camara Brown has lived in Chicago for 16 years, but her whole family is from Detroit. Although Camara loves Penn for many different reasons, one of the main reasons she loves Penn is the unique and loving community that the Kelly Writer's House offers.She loves crying at really sad movies and laughing at really funny movies. She also enjoys great Indian food and Ethiopian food. If she could be any animal in the world she would be a big cat, maybe a tiger or a lion or a puma.

Web Mister: Juan Cabrera

Juan Cabrera

Juan Cabrera is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador but has lived for most of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He loves Greek and Roman mythology, Dante Alighieri, Junot Diaz, Juan Pablo Villalobos, and Zadie Smith. He enjoys writing and poetry (especially, very recently the Spanish kind). He is a fan of Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Oswaldo Guayasamin, William Kentridge, Graciela Iturbide, and Camilo Egas. His many obsessions include Ximena Sariñana, Carla Morrison, Shakira, Coldplay, and Adele. He watches various television shows like Scandal (thank you Jenny Chen), Naruto, Downton Abbey, Fullmetal Alchemist, and always (ALWAYS) Digimon. He has recently taken up a research fellowship with the Penn Undergraduate Humanities Forum to look into 20th century Latin American Indigenist Art in Peru, Ecuador and Mexico and always gets winded when trying to say that sentence. He is so excited he might explode. Just talk to him and you will realize he is a pretty cool dude.


Program Assistant: Santiago Cortes

Santiago Cortes

Santiago Cortes, Santi for short, was born in the highlands of the Andes. He moved to the States in 2000 to Miami, and has been attending Penn since the fall of 2012. A self-proclaimed xenophile, his abundant interest for almost anything foreign drives many things from his musical and film tastes to his desire to major in business with an international concentration. His favorite books include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Suite française by Irène Némirovsky, and La casa de los espíritus by Isabel Allende.


Editorial Assistant: Gina DeCagna

Gina DeCagna

Gina DeCagna loves art and writing. She enjoys scrapbooking, museums, traveling, and the perpetual discovery that comes with being a student. Words like juxtapose and escritoire make her smile.


Program Assistant: Andie Davidson

Andie Davidson

Andie is a junior majoring in English with a Creative Writing emphasis and French minor—but don't waste your breath asking what she's going to do with that. She has a particular fondness and/or obsession with coffee, chocolate, sushi, giant pandas, anything vintage or random, anything European (especially French), and parentheses (obviously). In between exploring (or wandering, as her friends would call it) and searching for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, she can usually be found running, reading, or making up stories in her head. If anyone comes across the inept owl in charge of delivering her Hogwarts acceptance letter, kindly send him her way immediately.


Program Assistant: Victoria Ford

Victoria Ford

Victoria is a sophomore in the college at Penn. She was born in Memphis and now lives in South Carolina. She enjoys talking about the South, eating, people watching, telling stories about her little brother, and the list continues. When she grows up she wants to be a writer.


Program Assistant: Ayla Fudala

Ayla Fudala

Ayla Fudala is a sophomore from Cape Cod. Her two life goals are to save the Amazon rainforest and to become the next Stephen King. She enjoys composing pretentious poetry and playing with her pet ocelot.


Program Assistant: Kristie Gadson

Kristie Gadson

Kristie is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences, majoring in English and minoring in Fine Arts. When she isn't working she is either obsessing over Pokemon, creating new comic book ideas, or creating the perfect opportunity for many an awkward moment.


Administrative Assistant: Cindia Huang

Cindia Huang Currently living in Philly, Cindia is a sophomore majoring in Fine Arts (and maybe Comp Sci or Linguistics). A world traveler, knows more than five languages, and was the editor-in-chief of a cultural newsletter. Cindia is associated with JASGP, a Japan-America organization. As for hobbies, Cindia is a practitioner of Kendo and likes photography, writing, poetry, playing pool, farming, guitar, and yoyo-ing. Furthermore, Cindia has also met several YouTube celebrities, such as David Choi and WongFu Productions.


Program Assistant: Diamond Irwin

Diamond Irwin Philadelphia native and College sophomore Diamond Irwin lives a life laden with color. She enjoys only the best rap and indie artists, cat eye sunglasses, gold jewelry, hair scarves, and walking the offbeat path.


Wexler Studio Assistant: Ivana Kohut

Ivana (C'18) is from West Orange, NJ and is excited about working for the KWH, particularly in the Wexler Studio. She is in the College of Arts and Sciences and is excited about immersing herself in a community of passionate scholars. She loves to write, to hike, and go for walks on the beach and is looking forward to a great year.

Assistant to the Associate Director of Writing Recruitment: Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge is a sassy sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences hailing from Stamford, Connecticut. He currently works as the Assistant to the Associate Director of Writing Recruitment, Jamie-Lee Josselyn. He is not as efficient at his job as Jamie-Lee's other partner-in-crime, Primo, but the people of the Writers House accept him anyway. His first kiss was in kindergarten during nap time, and he played Kelsi in a gender-bending take on High School Musical.


Program Assistant: Nadia Laher

Nadia Laher

Nadia is considered "a great junior" by Juan.

He appreciates her profundity and the quality of her conversations. He is excited to get to know her a little more as she grows in wisdom.


Program Assistant: Dylan Leahy

Dylan Leahy

Dylan is a sophomore. He plans on majoring in English and minoring in Cinema Studies because he enjoys the idea of a future without job security. He holds entirely too much stake in astrology, and thinks "trashy" reality TV is really a treasure. He filters most of his experiences through pop culture and idolizes various TV lesbians (cheerleader or otherwise). He is taking Italian to fill his language requirement and in hopes that he meets a husband who lives above his family's pizza shop so he can wake up to the smell of freshly-baked bread every morning. He's been obsessed with stories and the way they are told ever since his dad read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to him when he was seven, and hasn't looked back since.


Wexler Studio Assistant: Ari Lewis

Ari Lewis

Ari is a fun-sized, chocolate, LA native. She intends on majoring in Africana and Cinema Studies, and aspires to go into the film industry. Yams make her quite happy.


Jacket2 Editorial Assistant: Mariah Macias

Mariah Macias

Mariah Macias is a sophomore actively working towards her English degree. She works as an editorial assistant for Jacket2 and currently facilitates much of the review correspondence. Her passions are writing novels, reading anything that's interesting, and watching TV/movies. She also is a Ballroom dancer.


Webmaster: Jack Nessman

Jack Nessman

Jack Nessman graduated from the same DC public high school as former Whartonite, Warren Buffett. One of them was voted most likely to succeed. The other is the second richest man in the world. Jack enjoys Dickens, Hemingway, America's Next Top Model, Vanilla Coke, and Pokemon.


Sound Assistant: Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague is a junior majoring in English. Don't talk about the job market around him, ever.


Program Assistant: Shayna O’Reilly

Shayna O'Reilly

Shayna is a freshman who rarely knows what’s going on and is way too calm about it. She hails from northern Jersey and plans to major in Political Science. Her pastimes include watching obscure foreign films, having existential crises, dancing at inappropriate times, and baking cookies. Talk to her about feminism or Mediterranean food.


Program Assistant: Kenna O’Rourke

Kenna O’Rourke

Kenna O’Rourke once had a dream that Alli Katz led all of the work-studies to Trader Joe’s like the pied piper and bought them groceries with the pro card because there was some special KWH discount. Clearly the Writers House is embedded deeply into her subconscious.


Evening Program Associate: Ana Schwartz

Ana Schwartz

Ana Schwartz is a PhD Candidate at Penn's Department of English. She specializes in genres of seventeenth century American narrative as well as tech-driven changes in genres of twenty-first century writing. She keeps a common-place blog at tumblr and composes rhyming couplets on twitter".


Night Manager: Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz is currently Swiss. Inquire for further details.


Program Assistant: Virginia Seymour

Virginia Seymour

Virginia is a junior in the College studying anything that guarantees post-graduation joblessness. She hails from South Carolina and hopes that she will one day join Stephen Colbert, Young Jeezy, Mary Louise Parker, and Chris Rock as a famous South Carolinian. She has an affinity for free books, teas, pad thai, blanket forts, small children, sass, and sassy small children. Virginia is allergic to trees, grass, dust, animals, mango, kiwi, pineapple, plums, and sex appeal. Sirens and scuffed shoes make her particularly sad. Her last place of employment was at a Hogwarts Camp. Among her prolific accomplishments in life, Virginia's most recent claim to fame is the title Reigning Champion of the game 'You Won't Lick That.'


Web "Sass"istant: Amanda Silberling

Amanda Silberling

Amanda Silberling is a freshman in the College planning to study English and Creative Writing. Her goal in life is to find her name under the “Notable People from Boca Raton” Wikipedia page. Amanda is a contemporary poetry fanatic, and also writes music journalism— if you want to distract her from her job, come to the Writers House and ask her about Radiohead. She is also the Blog Editor at The Adroit Journal. At Penn, Amanda enjoys spending money on coffee even though she owns a keurig, petting Jamie-Lee’s dog Primo, and making Wharton jokes. She is a peso.


Program Assistant: Dan Spinelli

Dan Spinelli

Dan Spinelli is a freshman in the College who plans to major in PPE and/or English. He loves writing in almost any form, whether it's a screenplay, novel, or poem. Stephen King, Brian K. Vaughan, and William Faulkner are among his favorite writers at the moment. Talk to him anytime about movies, comics, or how GREAT the Philly sports teams are doing (we hope).


Assistant to the Assistant Director: Ashley Stinnett

Ashley Stinnett

Ashley is an extremely tall Washingtonian from Lawnguyland, New York. If she could eat only one food until the end of forever, it would be caramelized onions.


Program Assistant: Madeleine Wattenbarger

Madeleine Wattenbarger

Madeleine is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals.


Assistant to the Assistant Director: Connie Yu

Connie Yu

Connie is an April Fools' baby, but actually. She likes chocolate, nut butters, coffee, fruit, farmers' markets, fall weather, strangers, and writing—in any confectionary permutation. She can be frighteningly good at marathon-watching TV, listing, and applying (liberally) the em-dash. She comes from New Jersey and goes wherever the winds of this higher education may carry her—hopefully somewhere with steadyish pay, good seafood, deciduous trees, and things in need of being described.