Writers House 2007 Fellows: McPhee, Kincaid, Hall

University of Pennsylvania Almanac
October 31, 2006

John McPhee, Jamaica Kincaid and Donald Hall have been named the Kelly Writers House (KWH) Fellows for 2007. Each will visit the House to meet with students enrolled in the KWH Fellows seminar, taught by Writers House Faculty Director and Kelly Professor of English Al Filreis, and will participate in two public events.

"I love teaching the Writers House Fellows seminar," said Dr. Filreis. "We read and discuss the writings of each Fellow, and then, after a month or so of that, the great writer himself or herself appears! This is surely a dream come true for young writers and readers."

Fellows visit on a consecutive Monday and Tuesday of the spring semester. On Monday, the Fellow works with the students in the Fellows seminar and holds a public reading in the evening in the Arts Café of the Writers House. On Tuesday morning, an informal brunch is followed by an interview and conversation with the Fellow, which is also a live, interactive worldwide webcast. Overall, the two-day visit provides a singular opportunity for discussion, conversation and learning.

John McPhee is considered one of the pioneers of literary nonfiction writing. He is the author of 29 books, including Uncommon Carriers and 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner Annals of the Former World. Mr. McPhee will visit on February 12 and 13.

Using life to inspire fiction, Jamaica Kincaid often explores the complexity of mother-daughter relationships, the effects of colonialism, and alienation. Her recent works include Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya and Mr. Potter. Ms. Kincaid will visit on March 19 and 20.

Donald Hall is the United States Poet Laureate. He has published 15 books of poetry, including White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006, as well as a memoir, The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon. Mr. Hall will visit on April 16 and 17.

Fellows are selected not only on the basis of their eminence and critical success, but also on their compatibility with the philosophy of KWH. Former Fellows include the late essayist and novelist Susan Sontag, award-winning novelist E.L. Doctorow and celebrated poet John Ashbery.

"The Fellows Program enables our entire community--students, professors and emerging writers of all kinds--to actively engage with the most well-known and accomplished writers of our time," said Jamie-Lee Josselyn, a 2005 graduate of Penn, who was twice a member of the Fellows seminar and is the coordinator of the program. "The energy and inspiration produced by these experiences is beyond compare."

The Program is funded by alumnus and Trustee Paul Kelly. All KWH events are free and open to the public. Seating for each Fellows event is by RSVP only. E-mail whfellow@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 573-9749.