November 2014

Saturday, 11/1


2:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: or (215) 746-POEM

Renew your acquaintance or get to know this lively and innovative home for writers of all ages and genres as you join members of the Writers House community for informal conversation, coffee, and light refreshments. Advance registration is not required, but we'd love to hear from you. RSVP to or call (215) 746-POEM

Writing for children and young adults

Homecoming Alumni Authors Series

4:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: or (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

In honor of Penn's Homecoming, join us for a reading and panel discussion of writing for children and young adults, moderated by moderated by Liz Van Doren and featuring four alumni writers, Lorene Cary (C'78), Beth Kephart (C'82), Jordan Sonnenblick (C'91), and Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve (C'88).

Lorene Cary is an author, educator, and social activist. Her non-fiction includes magazine articles and blogs as well as her memoir Black Ice, and a collection of stories for young readers, Free! Great Escapes from Slavery on the Underground Railroad. Novels include The Price of a Child, chosen as the first One Book One Philadelphia offering, Pride, and If Sons, Then Heirs. Cary has written scripts for videos at The President's House exhibit on Independence Mall. In 1998 Cary founded Art Sanctuary to enrich urban Philadelphia with the excellence of black arts. To create an intentional transition, she stepped down as director in 2012. Cary was president of the Union Benevolent Association; and she served as a member of Philadelphia's School Reform Commission from 2011-13. Cary’s honors include UPenn’s Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching, The Philadelphia Award, and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore, Muhlenberg, Colby, and Keene State Colleges, and Arcadia and Gwynedd Mercy Universities.

Beth Kephart is the author of 18 books and a teacher of creative nonfiction at Penn. Her recent books include the memoir Nests. Flight. Sky.: On Love and Loss, One Wing at a Time; Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, which won the Books for a Better Life Award (Motivational Category) and was named a top writing book by Poets & Writer; Small Damages, which won a Carolyn W. Fields Honor Award; Dr. Radway’s Sarsparilla Resolvent, A Kirkus Best Children’s Book of 2013; and Going Over, a 1983 Berlin Wall novel that won the Parents’ Choice Award Gold Medal in Historical Fiction, is a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection, is a Booklist Top Ten Historical Novel for Youth, and a Junior Library Guild Selection, among other honors. Kephart writes for the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer and was included in the Philadelphia Literary Legacy Exhibition at the Philadelphia International Airport. She blogs daily at Three new books are forthcoming.

Jordan Sonnenblick (C’91) was a public school teacher for fourteen years, but always dreamed of being a writer, so one day in 2003 he sat down and started his first young adult novel, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, which was published by Scholastic in 2005. Jordan was as surprised as anybody when the book took off: it received several starred reviews, was named to the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten List, sold over 550,000 copies, and has been translated into twelve foreign languages. Jordan followed Drums with five more acclaimed books for teens: Notes from the Midnight Driver, Zen and the Art of Faking It, After Ever After, Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, and Are You Experienced?. Jordan has also written the Dodger and Me trilogy of funny fantasy books for middle-grade readers, which includes Dodger and Me, Dodger for President, and Dodger for Sale, all published by Macmillan. His website is the cleverly-named

Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve is a novelist, screenwriter, film producer and teacher. Her screenplay, Fugly, co-written with John Leguizamo, and starring Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Griffin Dunne and Radha Mitchell, finished filming early October 2010 in New York City. Her most recent novel, Drizzle, was published in March 2010 under her married name, Kathleen Van Cleve, and received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, and was named to Indiebound's KidsNext Spring 2010 list. She has produced the films Joe the King, (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival), Pinero, (a Miramax release starring Benjamin Bratt) and Undefeated (an HBO film starring Leguizamo). Her other novels are Cranberry Queen (optioned by Miramax Films) and The Difference Between You and Me. She graduated with a dual degree from the Wharton School and the College of Arts & Sciences in 1988. She has been a consultant for NYU's Tisch School of the Arts M.F.A. dramatic writing program as well as for Tisch's undergraduate dramatic writing candidates. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Van Doren is Editorial Director of Book Publishing for Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press. Over the course of her book publishing career, she has published a wide variety of award-winning books in all genres, from picture books to tween and teen fiction to nonfiction for all ages and has worked with many well-known and highly-lauded writers. Books Van Doren has edited have been named a National Book Award Finalist, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, ALA Notable Book, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, Bank Street Best Books of the Year, New York Times Top Ten Books of the Year, among many other awards and honors. In addition to acquiring, editing, and publishing books, Van Doren also teaches creative writing at The University of Pennsylvania and New York University. As a former high school teacher and a parent, she is very attuned to children's interests and what sparks their imagination.

Sunday, 11/2

Monday, 11/3

Reckoning with 1968

David Wyatt & Al Filreis in conversation

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

David Wyatt has written the definitive book on the ruptures of 1968. Al Filreis hosts this event and will lead an informal seminar-style conversation with Wyatt about his book and about the upheavals of the 1960s. When America Turned: Reckoning with 1968 is a book that tells in a new way the story of the Tet Offensive, the McCarthy campaign, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the student revolt at Columbia, the “police riot” at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Lyndon Johnson’s capitulation, and Richard Nixon’s ascendency to power. Seeking to recover the emotions surrounding these events as well as analyze their significance, Wyatt draws on the insights of what Michael Herr has called “straight” and “secret” histories. The first category consists of work by professional historians, traditional journalists, public figures, and political operatives, while the second includes the writings of novelists, poets, New Journalists, and memoirists.

David Wyatt is a professor of English at the University of Maryland. He teaches and writes about twentieth-century American literature, although he sometimes strays across the Atlantic to do essays about Shakespeare or Galsworthy. Born and raised in California, Wyatt has also published two books about the history and literature of his native state, The Fall into Eden: Landscape and Imagination in California, and Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California. In 2014 Wyatt published When America Turned: Reckoning with 1968, a book reflecting his ongoing interest in the fate of the Sixties generation. He has recently completed a monograph called “Hemingway Without End,” and is embarking on a memoir about his father with the working title, “The Runaway Sun: A Story of Southern California.” This project extends the work begun in And the War Came: An Accidental Memoir, published in 2004.

Tuesday, 11/4

Mary Kay Zuraleff

A fiction reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Max Apple
co-sponsored by: the Creative Writing Program
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

Mary Kay Zuravleff's latest novel, Man Alive! (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), was named a 2013 Notable Book by the Washington Post, which called the book “a family novel for smart people.” She is also the author of The Bowl Is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls. She has been the recipient of the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the James Jones First Novel Award, and she has just been named a recipient of a 2015 D.C. Individual Artist Fellowship. Mary Kay has taught writing at American University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Mason University. She has also written and edited extensively for the Smithsonian Institution. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and is a cofounder of the D.C. Women Writers Group.

Wednesday, 11/5

Thursday, 11/6

A poetry reading by Rosmarie Waldrop

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

Poet, translator, and editor Rosmarie Waldrop has been a forceful presence in American and international poetry for over forty years. Waldrop has authored over twenty books of her own writing, including poetry, fiction, and essays. In 2006 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, and a Wila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, among others. Central to Waldrop’s poetic output is her work as a translator. In 1970 she spent a year in Paris where she met leading French avant garde writers, including Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach, and Edmond Jabès. Since then Waldrop has become the leading English translator of Jabès’s writing, translating over a dozen volumes of his work. In 1993 she was awarded the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award for her translation of Jabès’s The Book of Margins, and was named “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government. Along with her husband Keith Waldrop, she founded Burning Deck Press, one of the most influential publishers for innovative poetry in the United States.

Friday, 11/7

Saturday, 11/8

Sunday, 11/9

Monday, 11/10

Marty Moss-Coane: The Art of the Interview

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
rsvp: or (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

WHYY's Marty Moss-Coane is host and executive producer of Radio Times, one of the most respected weekday interview programs on regional radio. She has earned praise for her versatility and engaging conversations and interviews with guests and phone callers alike during the live, two-hour program, which covers social issues, public policy, books, films, and more. Moss-Coane's programs reflect the belief that guiding discussions fairly and accurately are of prime importance in educating and informing the audience, allowing them to make sound and informed decisions.

Writers House Planning Committee Meeting

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe


From the time of its founding in 1995-1996, the Kelly Writers House has been run more or less collectively by members of its community. Our original team of intrepid founders—the group of students, faculty, alumni, and staff who wanted to create an independent haven for writers and supporters of contemporary writing in any genre—took for themselves the name “the hub.” “Hub” was the generic term given by Penn's Provost, President, and other planners who hoped that something very innovative would be done at 3805 Locust Walk to prove the viability of the idea that students, working with others, could create an extracurricular learning community around common intellectual and creative passions. To this day, the Writers House Planning Committee refers to itself as “the hub”—the core of engaged faculty, student, staff, and alumni volunteers from whom the House's creative energy and vitality radiates.

Brodsky Gallery opening

Uncontested Spaces: Drawings by Keren Katz

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe and throughout the first floor

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

The second Brodsky Gallery show of the season will feature beautiful drawings in a series by Keren Katz called Uncontested Spaces, where she represents and interprets the readings and gallery spaces from Kenneth Goldsmith's reading series of the same name, which took place at New York's MoMA in 2013. To welcome this work onto the gallery walls, we'll be hosting our own reading series where a few poetry students and enthusiasts will each choose a poet depicted in Keren's series, and channel that person for us as they read one poem by them. Keren will be live sketching throughout the entire evening and displaying her sketches as she goes, where they will become a part of the exhibition. Please join us for a night of poetry readings and celebrating Keren's vibrant work, followed by a reception.

Keren Katz is an Israeli illustrator and cartoonist. She received her MFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts (New York) and her B.Des from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (Jersusalem). She has been sketching guerrilla poetry events and adventures events since 2006 and has created titles like: The Night Poetry Class in Room 1001, Crossing The Rubikon, Chronicles of the Falling Women, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Coat Check Dream, Fire Theatre, Rashomon Ramat-Gan, Before The Dark Gate, Only Three of Them Were Real and Uncontested Spaces. For more of her work visit: or

Tuesday, 11/11

Daisy Fried, Teresa Leo, and Kasey Jueds

The Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry, Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh, 2013), My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (University of Pittsburgh, 2006), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn't Mean to Do It, (University of Pittsburgh, 2000), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Award. For her poetry, she's received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowships, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Recent poems have been published in the London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, The Threepenny Review and elsewhere, and one of her poems will appear in Best American Poetry 2013. She reviews books of poetry for The New York Times, Poetry and the Threepenny Review, and won the Editors Award from Poetry for "Sing, God-Awful Muse," an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding.

Teresa Leo is the author of two books of poetry, Bloom in Reverse ( University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) and The Halo Rule (Elixir Press, 2008), winner of the Elixir Press Editors’ Prize, and also a broadside, "After Twelve Months, Someone Tells Me It’s Time to Join the Living" (The Center for Book Arts, 2009). Her poetry and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Women’s Review of Books, New Orleans Review, Barrow Street, The Florida Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, 5 AM, Literal Latté, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Fiction and Poetry (Prentice Hall, 2005), the anthology Whatever It Takes: Women on Women’s Sport (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), and elsewhere. She has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, and her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, an Emerging Artist Award in Creative Nonfiction from the Leeway Foundation, two Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, six Pushcart Prize nominations, and the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review.

Poet Kasey Jueds's writing has appeared in many journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Review, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Women’s Review of Books, and 5AM. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Soapstone, and the Ucross Foundation. Her first book, Keeper, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, and was published by Pitt in fall, 2013.

Wednesday, 11/12

Thursday, 11/13

Writing about TV: girls

A Creative Ventures Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

  • Jessica Lowenthal Introduction
  • Sam Adams on "Jane the Virgin"
  • Meta Mazaj on "Mad Men"
  • Dylan Leahy on "Pretty Little Liars"
  • Diamond Irwin on "The Bold and the Beautiful"
  • Emily Guendelsberger on "Avatar"
  • Julia Schwartz on "Girls"
  • Salamishah Tillet on "The Promise"
  • For this newest event in our Writing about TV series, seven different people will each select a TV show to discuss, using "girls" as a theme or subject to guide their talk. "Girls" could be used as a literal sort of prompt (a show with prominent girl characters), as an audience viewpoint (what is it like to watch a particular show as a girl), or even more generally as a way to consider youth culture or identity.

    Friday, 11/14

    Plotting Premodern Biography

    Paul Strohm (Oxford and Columbia) discusses his Chaucer's Tale with David Wallace (Penn)

    12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    RSVP: or (215) 746-POEM
    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
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    Join us for a booklaunch buffet and hear about the crucial year that led Chaucer to The Canterbury Tales. Begins at noon, all welcome. Please let us know you plan to attend by emailing or calling (215) 746-POEM

    Paul Strohm has been J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of Medieval Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and Anna Garbedian Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. He has published seven books on later medieval English literature, beginning with Social Chaucer, now entering its 25th year in print with Harvard University Press. He is also a fiction writer. He previously visited Writers House for a reading and interview with Anthony DeCurtis, based on Sportin’ Jack, his book of hundred-word stories now available on Amazon-Kindle. In November, Viking Press will publish his latest book, Chaucer’s Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury.

    Saturday, 11/15

    Sunday, 11/16

    Monday, 11/17

    The End of the World

    Bernheimer Symposium

    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen to an audio recording of this event

    Whether it's fire, ice or zombie outbreak, everyone has an idea about the end of the world. This year's Bernheimer Symposium celebrates the apocalypse: how we get there, what it's like, and what happens next featuring experts, readers, and a zine. Established in the memory of Comparative Literature teacher and scholar Charles Bernheimer by Writers House Advisory Board member Kate Levin (GAS '96), the Bernheimer Symposium is organized each year by the Writers House Program Coordinator, who takes the opportunity to think expansively about programming possibilities.

    Tuesday, 11/18

    Writing about Art

    Creative Ventures

    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen to an audio recording of this event

    Join us for our third annual Writing about Art program, an event that will feature five speakers, each presenting/writing/talking about a different piece of art. This year, rather than focus on the work of a single artist, the talks will explore works of art that have no known artist. such as Ancient Greek architecture or American folk art. Each speaker will consider ways in which the concept of an artist or author can be bent, expanded, or subverted. Who counts as an artists? What qualifies as art?

    Wednesday, 11/19

    Speakeasy Open Mic night

    7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

    hosted by: Rosa Escandon
    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen to an audio recording of this event

    Our Speakeasy Open Mic Night is held once a month. We invite writers to share their work, or the work of others, in our Arts Cafe. Speakeasy welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your stand up comedy to share. You should expect outrageous (and free!) raffles for things you didn't know you needed, occasional costumes, and, of course, community members who love writing.

    Thursday, 11/20


    11:45 AM in the Arts Cafe

    rsvp: or (215) 746-POEM
    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
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    Have you been dreaming of the perfect internship? The one that will change your life forever? RealArts@Penn can help make that dream a reality! Join us for an informal conversation with past RealArts interns — who have worked at awesome places such as Rolling Stone, Philadelphia Magazine, and Viacom — to learn more about the project, the application process, and the adventures that you could be embarking on soon.

    A Conversation with Julia Rubin of Racked

    RealArts@Penn program

    5:00 PM in the Arts Café

    Julia Rubin attended the University of Pennsylvania where she was editor-in-chief of 34th Street Magazine and Under The Button. While she was at Penn, she interned for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as Phaidon Press. After graduation, Julia moved to New York and now she’s the features editor at She’s written for Teen Vogue, Styleite, and Billfold.

    Friday, 11/21

    Saturday, 11/22

    Sunday, 11/23

    Monday, 11/24

    Tuesday, 11/25

    Wednesday, 11/26

    Thursday, 11/27

    Friday, 11/28

    Saturday, 11/29

    Sunday, 11/30