KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 1998-1999

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 would love to hear any ideas, questions and comments you may have, so drop us a line.


Al Filreis--- Faculty Director

Al Filreis

Full-time staff

Kerry Sherin--- Director

Kerry E. Sherin

Kerry E. Sherin took her BA from Penn, majoring in Religious Studies with a slew of courses in English, including creative writing workshops. At Penn she was very active in the poetry scene; she and a few friends ran a funded weekly reading series called Fresh Fish (bringing to campus Margaret Atwood, Amiri Baraka and Olga Broumas, among others). She also edited 34th Street's book review section, and produced (as an undergrad) a national newsletter on computers in the arts. After graduating from Penn, she took an MA at the special writing program at Hollins College, and then a second MA when she joined the graduate program at Temple. As a grad student she has taught a number of creative writing seminars, and won Temple's prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award for Composition in 1992. She also won an Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Intro Award for Poetry in 1990. Her publications include poems in Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, Combo, Capital, New England Review, fiction ("A True Story" published in the anthology From Elvis to Oz), freelance articles (most recently in Philadelphia Magazine), and reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer. From 1991-1996, she created, then taught a special evening course for Temple and Borders Bookshop called "Calling All Fiction Lovers," in which students discussed novels by writers appearing in Philadelphia, then met with the writers; she has also taught a poetry writing workshop. For several years before coming to Temple she worked as an assistant to the film director Jim Jarmusch in New York City, helping particularly with the film Mystery Train and its promotion at the Cannes Film Festival. At Temple she served as faculty advisor to the student literary journal Parable. She has served as judge in best screenplay contests and at student film festivals - and in 1997 was asked to be a judge in the undergraduate essay contest here at Penn. She has given readings at the Unitarian Church NotCoffeehouse Series, the Highwire Gallery, Hollins College, and Temple University. As a PhD student at Temple, she has worked closely with poet, critic, and teacher Rachel Blau DuPlessis. In 1997, Ms. Sherin became the Resident Coordinator of the Kelly Writers House, and in 1998, she was named its first Director. During the fall semester, 1999, Ms. Sherin will be on a leave of absence to work on her dissertation, on memoir and anti-memoir in contemporary poetry by women writers.

Heather Starr --- Resident Coordinator

Heather Starr

Heather Starr, who has been a consultant to the Writing Center for the past year, has become Resident Coordinator of the Kelly Writers House at Penn. She succeeds Kerry Sherin, who moved up this fall to become the House's first full-time director. Ms. Starr was a Centennial Honors Scholar and an English Department Writing Fellow at Barnard, where she was instrumental in launching the Columbia University Women's Collective and the Ethnic Studies program. As an undergraduate she also did editorial work for Knopf's Chic Simple Books, Grolier's Orchard Books, and The New Yorker. She joined Penn in 1996 as program coordinator of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Center, with responsibility for events, advising and publications including a resource guide and an alumni directory. As RC, Ms. Starr will manage the day-to-day operations of the House, working with students, faculty and staff to develop and run programs and collaborations. She will also be the Producer of "Live at the Writers House," which airs monthly on WXPN 88.5 FM.

Work-study students

Kirsten "Kirby" Thorpe

Her second year @ the writers house... still without a job dexcription... junior in the College, double-majoring in psychology and english... will soon be writing poems about the primary visual cortex and the theories of Piaget... an English immigrant from D.C... varsity gymnast... avid aquarius... & learning to tango & cha-cha. sometimes, but only sometimes, she gets paid to read poems on the green couch or eat cheesecake on the kitchen counter... just trying to be cool in a groovy writers house kinda way.

Ena Marwaha

Ena Marwaha, a Libra, is a first-year student in the Wharton Business School. She is currently undecided for her major but she would like to go to law school. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Ena is also involved in the South Asian Society, the Wharton Eomen Club, and the Children of the Eighties. Besides working at the Writers House Ena also loves to read, hang out with friends an listen to music. She would also like to send a shot out to Heather, Al, and Kerry!

Drew Melbourne

Drew Melbourne is a senior philosophy and English major, with a concentration in creative writing, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. While not occupied making himself look busy at the House, Drew is a Resident Advisor with the Perspectives in Humanities Program at King's Court English House. He writes things, and has won some awards, and he is a Pisces, though he only discloses the last under duress.

Kalyani Fernando

Kalyani Fernando

Kalyani Fernando is a senior English major from Maryland. This Piscean enjoys the outdoors and is currently studying Iyengar Yoga and sitar at Penn. She enjoys salsa, modern art, and modern dance. She is currently working on her latest academic obsession, a major research project for her art history class, The Modern City. She is attempting to reconstruct the cultural, historical, and architectural makeup of 125th Street in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance, specifically focusing on the Apollo Theatre.

Sharon Male

Sharon Male is a prospective English/Sociology/Urban Studies/Psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. OK, so she's a little confused. But as Henrietta knows, Sharon's "just a freshman" so its all good. She somehow finds time between watching cheesy movies on Resnet and wasting obscene amounts of time at midnight breakfast to write some articles for the DP and 34th Street and tutor through the West Philly Reading Project. If you're ever bored on a Tuesday night, stop by the Writers House and say "hi." She's the girl on the green couch to your left when you walk in.

Henrietta Jones

Henrietta Jones is a senior Classical Studies major who is also trying to complete a Spanish minor. A true Scorpio, she's looking forward to turning legal in November so she can go swing dancing at nightclubs. When she's not at the House, she's probably either taking pictures for the DP, or in rehearsal for R'nandhi, Penn's only Jewish singing group! Or University Choral Society. She also prides herself on being a true New Yorker from Brooklyn--without the accent.

Aaron Couch

Aaron Couch is a sophomore English major from Mt. Airy (Philadelphia).

Jennifer May Flores Estaris

Jennifer May Flores Estaris

Major: Information Systems and English
From: Jonesboro, Georgia
DOB: January 27, 1977
Job: The RealAudio Diva
P.S.: Hullo. I like Pepsi.

Hannah Sassman

Hannah Sassaman is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with short hair. She isn't sure if she's going to grow it out again or not. Hannah eats lots of the food here at the House. And she sings loudly. No one is exactly sure why she's around. Here is one of her shorter poems:

I Am Roughly Familiar

I am roughly familiar with
The work of God.

I have seen His trees and
Some of His mountains.

When sleeping at the wheel, I
Felt the gentle pull of
Two fingers at my chin, where
A low grumble.

I am roughly familiar with
The work of God.