KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2013-2014

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 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 Associate: Katie L. Price

Katie Price teaches, researches, views, reads, writes, contemplates, and theorizes the literatures, arts, and sciences of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd centuries. She also runs the Instagram series “Adventures in Petaphysics,” which stars her very silky terrier 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.

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.

Program Assistant: Amelia Bentley

Amelia Robertson

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 Assistant: Juan Cabrera

Juan Cabrera

Juan Cabrera is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador but has lived for most of his life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He might major in Anthropology and Fine Arts, but he is not sure because he can never completely make his mind up. He loves the classics like Greek and Roman mythology, Dante Alighieri, Homer...etc. He enjoys writing and poetry. He is a huge fan of Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, and Oswaldo Guayasamin. Just talk to him and you will realize he is a pretty cool dude.

Program Assistant: Jenny Chen

Jenny Chen

Kate owes Jenny ten dollars from Koja last week. Also Jenny knows the answers to questions about composting and herbs and Kate appreciates that.

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.

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: 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: Kristie Gadson

Kristie Gadson

Kristie is a Sophomore in the College who is probably the only southerner without a southern accent. Ever. Most days are spent making friends out of strangers, giving out random bits of knowledge, or wishing she brought her various Nintendo platforms so she can engage in her nostalgic tendencies (Well someone has to be the pokemon master!). She can be quite loud and often laughs randomly. Kristie loves cats and food, but she does NOT love being called "Kris". Never call her that.

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.

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 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.

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: Afrah Mohammad

Afrah is a sophomore in the College studying BBB. She does work-study at KWH, mostly to escape from an almost all-science schedule of classes, and loves metaphors that are really on point.

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 Mistress: Arielle Pardes

Arielle Pardes

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

Program Assistant: Erin Peraza

Erin Peraza

Erin Peraza likes these cheeses in this order: feta, goat, gouda, mozzarella, brie, parmesan.

Night Manager: Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz is currently Swiss. Inquire for further details.

Program Assistant: Virginia Seymour

Virginia is a freshman 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.'

Program Assistant: Habeeb Suara

Habeeb Suara

Habeeb Suara is a freshman of Nigerian descent from rural West Tennessee who is currently suffering from a culture shock. He is very accustomed to drinking sweet tea (REAL sweet tea), seeing deer outside his window, waving to/greeting/creeping on random pedestrians on the street, and buying lunch for only $5; to his surprise, none of those things are very prevalent or common in urban West Philadelphia. Nevertheless, Habeeb is very much enjoying his time at Penn. In his spare time, Habeeb enjoys playing sports, singing in the shower, laughing, drumming, and writing similes. He plans to major in Biomedical Science. Within the next 10- 20 years, Habeeb aspires to be the first licensed medical doctor to host/write for Saturday Night Live.

Program Assistant: Allison Wattenbarger

Allison Wattenbarger

Allison is Outreach Assistant/Kitchen Person at KWH. She instituted the annual Apple Cider Doughnut Day -- when October is black coffee and mulled cider and hot, cinnamon-sugar-crusted doughnut holes dropped from the oil onto the smudged KWH kitchen counter.

Program Assistant: 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.

Program Assistant: Hannah White

Hannah White

Hannah White, a senior history major, comes from Crozet, Virginia, where she lives a few blocks from The Best Pizza in Virginia and a few blocks from the local Dairy Queen. Hobbies include Wawa coffee runs, worrying, and writing comedic personal essays. Please address her as if she were the daughter of Walter White.

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.