September 2018

Saturday, 9/1

Sunday, 9/2

Monday, 9/3

Tuesday, 9/4

Wednesday, 9/5


6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

Hosted by: Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

In Who Will Speak for America?, edited by Stephanie Feldman and Nathaniel Popkin, 40 novelists, essayists, poets, and artists confront the political division heightened by the Trump presidency and imagine a just future for the USA. Contributors to Who Will Speak for America? are passionate and justifiably angry voices providing a literary response to today’s political crisis. Inspired by and drawing from the work of writers who participated in nationwide Writers Resist events in January 2017, this lively volume provides a collection of poems, stories, essays, and cartoons that wrestle with the meaning of America and American identity.

CYNTHIA ARRIEU-KING is an associate professor of creative writing at Stockton University and a former Kundiman fellow. Her books include People Are Tiny in Paintings of China (2010) and Manifest (2013), winner of the Gatewood Prize, selected by Harryette Mullen. She edited the “Asian Anglophone” edition of Dusie in 2016.

CYNTHIA ATKINS is the author of Psyche’s Weathers (2007), In The Event of Full Disclosure (2013), and a manuscript in progress, “Still-Life with God.” Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Apogee Journal, Bomb, Cleaver Magazine, Del Sol Review, Diode, Entropy, Expound, the Florida Review, Green Mountains Review, North American Review, Seneca Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Tampa Review, Thrush, Tinderbox, and Verse Daily. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she has received prizes and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Writers at Work. She teaches creative writing at Blue Ridge Community College and lives on the Maury River in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

HERMAN BEAVERS is professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in African American literature and creative writing. His books include a scholarly monograph, Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison (2018) and a chapbook, Obsidian Blues (2017).

STEPHANIE FELDMAN is the author of the novel The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov's Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

LIZ MOORE is the author of the novels The Words of Every Song (2007), Heft (2012), and The Unseen World (2016). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in such venues as Tin House, the New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. A winner of the 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, Liz lives in Philadelphia, where she is writer in residence in Temple University’s MFA program in creative writing.

CYNTHIA DEWI OKA is a poet and the author of Salvage (2017) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (2016). A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Guernica, the Massachusetts Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her work appears in Best of Kweli (2017) and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism (2018), among other anthologies. She has received the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, scholarships from Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont Studio Center, and the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award. Originally from Indonesia, she currently works as an organizer with immigrant communities in Philadelphia.

NATHANIEL POPKIN is the author or co-author of five books, including the novel Everything is Borrowed and Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple). He is a literary critic and essayist whose work appears in the Wall Street Journal, Kenyon Review, and other publications. He is the fiction review editor at Cleaver Magazine.

MARC ANTHONY RICHARDSON received his master of fine arts degree from Mills College. He is an artist and writer from Philadelphia. Year of the Rat (2016), his debut novel, was the winner of the 2015 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2017, it received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, founded by Ishmael Reed. PEN America awarded him a grant in 2018. He was also the recipient of a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright fellowship and a Vermont Studio Center residency. Currently, he is writing “Messiahs,” a work of speculative fiction that takes place in a possible America, one where you can take on the capital punishment of a relative, a derivative of the Native American blood law.

CARLOS JOSÉ PÉREZ SÁMANO is a literary fiction and nonfiction author and a teacher of creative writing workshops in Mexico, the United States, Kenya, and Cuba. He has four published books in Spanish and is the recipient of the Ad Zurdum Publishing House’s Best Seller award. His work has been featured in more than twenty international magazines, including Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Errr Magazine, Quinqué, Poetry in Common, and Cultura Colectiva. He is pursuing a master of fine arts in creative writing and a master’s in publishing at Rosemont College. Find him on Twitter @carlosjoseperez.

FRAN WILDE is the author of several novels and short stories that have been nominated for Nebula Awards and a Hugo Award, including her Andre Norton Award– and Compton Crook Award–winning debut novel, Updraft (2015); its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017); and the novelette The Jewel and Her Lapidary (2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s Science Fiction,, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including the Washington Post, Clarkesworld Magazine, io9, and GeekMom. You can find her on Twitter, on Facebook, and at

AIREA D. MATTHEWS is the author of the poetry collection Simulacra (2017) and recipient of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. Her work has appeared in the Rumpus, Best American Poetry 2015, American Poet, and elsewhere. She received the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and was awarded the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in 2016 from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Airea is working on her second poetry collection, “Under/class,” which explores poverty. She is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College.

Thursday, 9/6

Friday, 9/7

Kelly Writers House Activities Fair

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

Want to get involved in at KWH? The Kelly Writers House Activities Fair is an opportunity for new and returning students to learn about student-led Writers House activities and initiatives, including magazines, podcasts, writing groups, community outreach, zine making, film production, and more. Stop by for snacks — and to chat with student leaders and representatives of Curiouser, DoubleSpeak, Excelano, The F-Word, Impact, the Moviegoer, Penn Appetit, Radical Tea, The Robinson Press, Write On!, and others. All are welcome!

Saturday, 9/8

Sunday, 9/9

Monday, 9/10

Tuesday, 9/11

Wednesday, 9/12

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

Our monthly, student-run open mic night 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 — or just come to listen!

Thursday, 9/13

Careers in Journalism & New Media

Jill Castellano (C'16), Jess Goodman (C'12), and Ashley Parker (C'05) with moderator Stephen Fried (C'79)

6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event
RSVP to:
Co-sponsored by the Povich Journalism Program, The Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize

Hoping to work in journalism, media, or publishing after college? Our annual Careers in Media alumni panel — sponsored by KWH, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the Creative Writing Program, and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize — focuses on how you can prepare for first jobs and careers in print, broadcast and online media, publishing, and related fields, as well as how to make decisions about extracurriculars, internships and grad school in these areas. This year’s panel includes:

Jill Castellano is an investigative reporter and data analyst for inewsource. Castellano graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in psychology and criminology and was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian. She has interned at the New York Daily News, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Castellano was a Dow Jones Data Fellow in 2016 — its first class of data journalists. She was trained by data experts at the headquarters of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Columbia, Missouri, and spent the summer working as a data reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. In September 2016, Castellano joined The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as an investigations editor. She mentored reporters in the USA TODAY Network on data analysis and public records, and she collaborated with other newsrooms on data-driven enterprise stories. She was part of a team from the USA TODAY Network that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a project on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Jessica Goodman is a senior editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, where she oversees the Work + Play section. She and her team won a National Magazine Award in Personal Service for last year's package, How to Run For Office. Previously, she was a digital news editor at Entertainment Weekly and an entertainment editor at HuffPost. Jessica graduated from Penn's College of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism in 2013. While at Penn, she was the editor-in-chief of 34th Street Magazine.

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter at the Washington Post. She was part of the Washington Post team that won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting — for their look at Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. She was also part of the Post team that won a 2018 George Polk award for reporting on the same topic. Previously, she worked at the New York Times for eleven years, where she covered politics — Mitt Romney in 2012 and Jeb Bush and Donald Trump in 2016 — and Congress, as well as other things. She started at the paper as Maureen Dowd's research assistant. She has also written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Glamour, The Huffington Post, The Washingtonian, The New York Sun, Philadelphia Weekly, and Chicago Magazine, and is an MSNBC political analyst. She graduated from Penn in 2005, with a double major in English (creative writing) and Communications.

Stephen Fried (C ’79) is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Penn, and at Columbia (in the departments of journalism and psychiatry.) He is the author of seven acclaimed nonfiction books, most recently RUSH: Revolution, Madness and Benjamin Rush, The Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown). A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, his work has appeared in Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, and Philadelphia magazine. Fried lives in Philadelphia, with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Friday, 9/14

Saturday, 9/15

Sunday, 9/16

Monday, 9/17

Lunch with Maya Rao

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event
Hosted by Dick Polman

Maya Rao is a D.C. correspondent for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Atlantic, Awl and Longreads. She is the author of the 2018 book Great American Oupost.

Planning Committee Meeting

6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden


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.

Tuesday, 9/18

A lunchtime reading and conversation with Ondjaki

12:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

co-sponspored by: the Portugese Studies Program and Writers Without Borders
RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola in 1977. He studied in Lisbon, Portugal, and is the author of five novels, three short story collections and various books of poems and stories for children. He has also made a documentary film, May Cherries Grow, about his native city. His books have been translated into eight languages and have earned him major literary prizes in Angola, Portugal, France, and Brazil. In 2008, Ondjaki was awarded the Grinzane for Africa Prize in the category of Best Young Writer. In 2012, the Guardian named him one of its Top Five African Writers.

Wednesday, 9/19

Thursday, 9/20

Friday, 9/21

Saturday, 9/22

Sunday, 9/23

Monday, 9/24

Dead Parents Society Meets Modern Loss

A conversation with Rebecca Soffer

Sponsored by: Sylvia W. Kauders lunch series

12:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

Hosted by Jamie-Lee Josselyn
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event
RSVP to: or (215-746-POEM)

Rebecca Soffer is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Loss, a publication and community offering candid original essays and resources on loss. She is also coauthor of Modern Loss: Candid Conversation about Grief. Beginners Welcome., which was published in January 2018 by Harper Wave and debuted as a #1 new release on Amazon. She is a former producer for the Peabody Award-winning Colbert Report. Rebecca is nationally recognized presenter on the topics of loss and resilience and has spoken at Chicago Ideas Week, Kripalu, The Commonwealth Club, and BinderCon. She has been published in a variety of media including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery29. She is a graduate of Emory University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Rebecca lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

LIVE at the Writers House

7:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration of the people of the Kelly Writers House and of WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Writers House airs a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest -- from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. "LIVE" is broadcast on WXPN. "LIVE" is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc and is produced by Alli Katz.

Tuesday, 9/25

David Bromige memorial reading

6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

Watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
Listen: to an audio recording of this event

Please join Jack Krick and Ron Silliman and several guest readers to celebrate the work and life of the late, great David Bromige with the launch of his if wants to be the same as is: The Essential Poems of David Bromige. With Charles Bernstein, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Steve Dolph, Ryan Eckes, George Economou, Eli Goldblatt, Tom Mandel, Chris McCreary, Jason Mitchell, Bob Perelman, Frank Sherlock, and Orchid Tierney.

“The self to write about the products of the self which the self tries to make as selfless as possible, in order that they may be seen to come from the true self, by involving it with & invoking it for contiguous other selves (readers). The constantly shifting perspectives of the sentences. Even a lower limit, speech, & an upper limit, song, leads instanter to song –

                                     You make me dizzy Miss Lizzie”

                                                                         - David Bromige, “My Poetry”

Wednesday, 9/26

Other Women Don't Tell You: The Poetics of Motherhood

Sponsored by: the Fund for Feminist Projects

6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

What makes poetry a fitting vessel for the experience of motherhood? Motherhood’s intergenerational quality complicates temporal movement as well as the voice of a singular “I,” bridging present experience with a legacy of mothers past and the futurity of our children. Ananda Lima, Ursula Rucker, Sara Burnett, and Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach — poet mothers from diverse backgrounds — will read their work and discuss motherhood not merely as subject matter, but as an integral element of poetics.

Sara Burnett is the author of the chapbook Mother Tongue (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in such journals as Barrow Street, The Cortland Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland - College Park and an MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her family. She occasionally blogs on writing, art, and parenting at

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. Julia's poetry collection, The Many Names for Mother, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Kent State University Press in the Fall of 2019. She is also the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her recent poems appear in Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, and Nashville Review, among others. Julia is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood (

Ananda Lima’s work has appeared or is upcoming in The American Poetry Review, Rattle, Colorado Review, Jubilat, Hobart, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. She has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and is pursuing an MFA in fiction from Rutgers University, Newark. She was selected for the AWP Writer to Writer program and has attended workshops at Bread Loaf, Tin House, the Community of Writers and Sewanee, where she currently serves as staff. Ananda has taught at Montclair State University and UCLA and currently teaches undergraduate creative writing at Rutgers University, Newark. She was born in Brazil and now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their son.

Ursula Rucker is a Philadelphia born poet, mother, activist and recording artist. She has been performing, recording and releasing works for over 20 years. Ursula has traveled and toured extensively, throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa...sharing her poetry...her heart and soul. She is dedicated to art as/for social change and committed to freedom fighting, truth-telling and peace and a little trouble-making through her chosen art form. Ursula believes in taking her art as far as it can go, whether it be through teaching, activism, lecturing, conducting workshops, merging it with music and recording or rocking mics and stages. To date, Ursula has released five solo albums (Supa Sista, Silver or Lead, ma’at mama, Ruckus Soundsysdom, SHE SAID)…as well as collaborated on over 100 songs, in a wide array of musical genres, with producers/artists from around the world (such as King Britt, Bahamadia, The Roots, 4 Hero, Jazzanova, Louie Vega, Incognito). Ursula was awarded both the Leeway Foundation’s Art for Change & Transformation Awards. She is the feature of a documentary short called POET. In 2015, she successfully premiered her first one-woman show/live memoir My Father’s Daughter, and is still touring with it. Most recently, Ursula is most proud of her Monument Lab piece “Logan Squared,” an epic poetic ode to her beloved city Philadelphia, as well as, Voices of Kensington, the poetry series she curates thru the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, geared towards healing and giving voice to the Kensington community greatly affected by opioid addiction. But the latest shining feather in Ursula’s cap is being named a 2018 Pew Fellow. Currently, Ursula is working on her 6th solo album, and planning her first book project and always looking forward to making and sharing art with the people in as many ways as possible.

Thursday, 9/27

Brodsky Gallery Opening

Las voces de Maria

6:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

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

Las voces de Maria, is a multimedia project, facilitated by writer Syra Ortiz-Blanes and photographer Cameron Hart, that profiles Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who came to Philadelphia after the storm. Part text, part video, and part photo, Las voces de Maria, which first ran on The Philadelphia Citizen, hands over to Puerto Ricans the opportunity to share their stories through different tools and mediums. Evacuees sat for hours with Ortiz-Blanes and Hart, unraveling their lives inside the gray spaces of local bureaucracies – nonprofit and governmental alike – which left them homeless, distressed, and hungry. They met in hotels, cramped basements, coffee shops, and the apartments and homes of relatives, friends, and strangers. They shared their stories, often for the first time, often when no one else had asked them or even understood them.

At least 2,975 passed away in Puerto Rico because of the hurricane, destroyed infrastructure, and government negligence. But the evacuees who came to Philadelphia also lost life as they knew it. Maria was deeply felt on both a personal and collective level. Las voces aims to reflect both the intimate and national losses. The cyclone’s survivors who are featured in the project come from all over the island and from all walks of life. Each piece provides people with the space to share their perspectives and opinions.Together, all the stories form a chorus on life before, during, and after the hurricane. This reconstruction of narratives, like the reconstruction of our island, is vital to our healing process.

Las Voces de Maria is dedicated to those who left, those who stayed, and those who will come back. And to Puerto Rico, which doesn't need to get back on its feet, because it never fell down.

Friday, 9/28

Saturday, 9/29

Sunday, 9/30