KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2012-2013

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 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.

Administrative Assistant: Max McKenna

Max McKenna

Max believes that watching oneself pretend to sleep is certainly a privilege of a higher and more esoteric order.

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 has received a BA from Penn in English and French and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. She is working on a collection of personal essays about her mother's life and death. She has taught creative writing in a few places, including at Penn and in St. Paul's School's Advanced Studies Program. When not in her third floor office at the Writers House, you might find Jamie-Lee 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."

Project Assistant: Kristen Martin

Kristen Martin

Kristen is the President of the Lost Boys Club at the Kelly Writers House. She cannot leave this place. In her new position as a research assistant, she lugs books to and from Van Pelt and Fisher Fine Arts, summarizes, writes, eats, photocopies, and scans. She is also Jamie-Lee Josselyn's interior decorator and is known for such works as "Cat Coloring" (2009) and "Barbra Wallpaper" (2010). Outside the office, Kristen enjoys narrative non-fiction writing, Italian food culture, cooking, and (more) eating.

Project Assistant: Molly O'Neill

Molly O'Neill

Molly hails from sunny California but spent the last more-than-several years bouncing up and down the East Coast between schools before finally settling at Penn. Now in her senior year, Molly has infiltrated and inhabited the KWH 3rd floor office and thus has a legitimate reason not to leave after graduation. In her life away from campus, Molly enjoys reading poetry, nonfiction and short stories, bartending, cuddling with her two and a half pit bulls, eating massive amounts of carbohydrates, and drooling over fashion blogs.

Project Associate: Katie L. Price

Katie L. Price is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. Apart from her work at the Kelly Writers House, she is an Associate Editor at Electronic Poetry Center, Assistant Editor at Jacket2, and completing a dissertation on the afterlife of pataphysics in contemporary poetry. In 2010-2011 she co-coordinated the Poetry & Poetics graduate group, and in 2011-2012 she co-coordinates the Modernism and 20th Century Studies group at Penn. In April 2012, she is organizing, with Jonathan Fedors, a conference entitled "Poetry Communities and the Individual Talent." Her work has appeared or will appear in Jacket2 and Canadian Literature. When not working, Katie is most likely playing with her dog, Jarry.

Assistant Director for Development: Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse likes making things and listening to people. She roots for Team Pie and Team Feelings and believes you can never have too many blankets. You can find her in her second-floor closet space: obsessing over word choice; shamelessly oversaturating photos of KWH events; teaching herself how to knit; quietly advocating for revolution; or surprising herself with how much she likes reading about microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Someone once told her you can either be a stripes person or a polka dot person and she’s still trying to figure out which she is, so if you have any insight, please do let her know.

Lead Webmaster: Zach Carduner

Zach Carduner

Zach's presence at the Writers House is the sole stroke of good fortune to arise from an otherwise tragic irrigation accident.

Program Assistant: Jenny Chen

Jenny Chen

Ask Jack.

Program Assistant: 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.

Program Assistant: Andie Davidson

Andie Davidson

Andie is a sophomore in the College, and though very disappointed to have never received her Hogwarts acceptance letter, is ecstatic to be at Penn and KWH. She wants to major in Communications or English, but her main plan currently is to avoid all things math and science-related. She likes coffee, chocolate, and sushi (though not together), 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.

Program Assistant: Josie Elias

Josie Elias

Josie Elias is a junior in the college who treats every day like a thirteenth birthday party. Interests include baked goods, funky melodies, and Saturday morning cartoons. Literary analysis and intellectually stimulating conversation ain’t bad either.

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 freshman 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: Josh Herren

Josh Herren Josh Herren is a senior and the interim director of the KWH Beard Club.

Administrative Assistant: Kate Herzlin

Kate Herzlin Kate is a sophomore at the College, hailing from glorious and scenic Long Island, NY. She's an English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration. And a Theatre Arts Minor... and a Polisci minor. In all of that spare time that she doesn't have, she enjoys looking up words in her Yiddish-English dictionary, finding inspirational Toni Morrison quotes, baking apple cake on Fridays at the Writers House, and watching YouTube videos from Broadway shows. She's a vegetarian too, so she's clearly a better person than you are. Oh...and she's really not that snobby, she swears.

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.

Director Assistant: Ali Kriegsman

Ali Kriegsman

Ali is a cheater, a liar and a fraud. She is shameless.

Fear her.

Program Assistant: Nadia Laher

Nadia Laher

Nadia likes to travel, make friends, laugh, improve, & read. If she did these five things for the rest of her life, she would consider it well-lived.

Program Assistant: Dylan Leahy

Dylan is a freshman. 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.

Program Assistant: Gwendolyn Lewis

Gwen Lewis

Gwen is a junior in the College who, in West Philadelphia, was born and raised. Rather than spending most of her days in the playground, she navigated through the majority of her teenage years pretending to be a Upenn student. She frequented 40th street's restaurants, shopped at The Natural Shoe Store and became a pro at smuggling McDonald's into Rave Motion Pictures (formerly and better known as The Bridge). These days, she finds great pleasure in seeing freshmen and saying "awww they're so cute," posing as a New Yorker in the summertime and cheating on tea with coffee and fountain coke.

Program Assistant: AnnaMarie Marquet

AnnaMarie Marquet

I am a junior in the college majoring in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and minoring in Political Science. I would really like to graduate and then have a job possibly involving traveling and/or cooking vegan food. In my free time I like to make hummus and only hummus.

Program Assistant: Melissa Morrison

Melissa Morrison

Melissa Morrison graduated with a BA in psychology from Franklin University in the southern canton (think of cantons as states) of Switzerland. Despite what most people think about the cold, frigid weather of Switzerland, the south has palm trees! Currently she works at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia conducting research on pediatric traumatic injuries and doing fun stuff such as listening to transcripts, filing data entries and staring at computer programs. In her free time, Melissa enjoys reading all sorts of books, drinking coffee (she's addicted and if you hand her a cappuccino, she will instantly be cheerful) and traveling to far-away places like Australia. Originally from Baltimore (or "Baw-moor"), Melissa yearns for a Little Italy but is satisfied with the infinite food choices around the University City area. In the summers, she works at an amazing resident camp and listens to kids tell her all sorts of crazy stuff such as how many times they can fart in one hour. Other interests include learning French, watching foreign films, and spending hours in a bookstore. She's excited to be working here at the Writers House and will start her PhD in clinical psychology next year.

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, Mob Wives, and Pokemon.

Program Assistant: Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague is a freshman in the College double-majoring in English and Biological Basis of Behavior and Fancy Science names. And might minor in Spanish. And he can totally handle it. Do you think he can't? Do you want to bet that he can't? Coming from Miami, FL, this whole everyone-not-screaming-in-Spanish-all-the-time thing is really weirding him out. He's also very excited to work at the Writer's House :D

Web Assistant: Arielle Pardes

Arielle Pardes

Arielle Pardes is a cheerful young lady who feels particularly affectionate toward cats.

Program Assistant: Erin Peraza

Erin Peraza

Junior. English major. Film and Spanish. Roommate to Allison Wattenbarger.

Program Assistant: Amelia Robertson

Amelia Robertson

Amelia Robertson is a recent graduate of Evergreen State college, with an interdisciplinary degree in Poetry and Philosophy. A sporadic poetry and poetry review blog can be found at Please feel free to contact Amelia with copies of any poetry books you might like to have reviewed.

Program Assistant: Sarah Schwab

Sarah is a freshmen in the College, and hails from Orcutt, California. She enjoys reading old books, petting animals, and exploring new places with friends. If her mind does not change of the course of her college career, she hopes to study Medieval and Renaissance literature, which, in her opinion, is highly underrated by the literary world. When not working at the Writer’s House, studying, or doing stuff with friends, you can find her by the bio pond, feeding koi fish and baby squirrels.

Night Manager: Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz is currently Swiss. Inquire for further details.

Program Assistant: Anastasiya Shekhtman

Anastasiya Shekhtman

Shadows on the ground and chocolate in mugs and hats over ears and snowflakes under feet and almonds in the tummy are a few of her favorite things.

Program Assistant: Callie Ward

Callie Ward

Program Assistant: Allison Wattenbarger

Allison Wattenbarger

Junior. English major. Modernism and religion. Roommate to Erin Peraza.

Program Assistant: Madeleine Wattenbarger

Madeleine Wattenbarger is a freshman in the College. She eats a lot and tweets a lot. During NSO, she got sick from consuming too much hot sauce. She continues to consume too much hot sauce. Yes, she is Allison 2.0.

Program Assistant: Hannah White

Hannah White

Hannah White, a junior history major, comes from Crozet, Virginia, where she lives a few blocks from The Best Pizza in Virginia and a few blocks from the Dairy Queen. In her spare time, she enjoys eating cereal, talking about "her" bakery, going to the movies, and worrying. Please address her as if she were the daughter of Walter White.