The Writer's News

The Writer's Chronicle Vol 31, No. 4
February 1999

The Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania is a writing arts collaborative, established in 1996 in an 1851 Tudor-style cottage in the middle of Penn's urban campus. The vision of students, faculty and staff, the project is a pilot program of the Provost's 21st-Century Initiative. In just two years, the Writers House has launched four new journals, eight series or ongoing projects, and according to Faculty Director Al Filreis, has "utterly changed...the way visiting writers interact with young student writers." The house features readings by Pulitzer Prize winners such as Jorie Graham, sponsors poetry slams and open mic readings, and brings screenwriters, journalists, editors, scholars, and creative writers to Philadelphia. With its diversity and high number of events, the Writers House is "rapidly becoming a national resource, not just a Penn or Philly one" says poet Ron Sillman. This year Gay Talese is the first Writers House Fellow, a program made possible by a grant from Paul Kelly. Talese, "New Journalist," and author of many works of creative nonfiction --including Unto the Sons, Honor Thy Father, and Thy Neighbor's Wife--will teach a workshop and take part in other house events. 1998-1999 visiting writers include Martin Estrada, Racheal Blau DuPlessis, Alan Gilbert,Bernadette Mayer, Walter Keady, and others. Past visiting writers include Yusef Komunyakaa,Toby Olson, Charlotte Bacon Choyt, and many others.