November 2016

Tuesday, 11/1

Lunch with Jack Shafer of Politico

11:45 AM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
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Jack Shafer is POLITICO's senior media writer. Previously, Jack wrote a column about the press and politics for Reuters and before that worked at Slate as a columnist and as the site's deputy editor. He also edited two alternative weeklies, SF Weekly and Washington City Paper. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, BookForum and the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal.

Afghan Women's Writing Project: a reading

Ruba Ahmed, Navya Dasari, Becca Lambright, Wazhmah Osman, Yolanda Wisher, Zahra W., and Marzia

Feminism/s program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Laynie Browne
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In honor of the Afghan Women's Writing Project and Afghan women writers we have invited seven readers including students, faculty, poets and special guests Afghan writers Zahra and Marzia to read from the anthology Washing the Dust From Our Heart: Poetry and Prose from Writers of the Afghan Women's Writing Project, translated by Pari with Ahmad Aria. Since 2009 AWWP has helped hundreds of Afghan women and girls tell their stories. To tell one's story is a human right. Translator Pari writes: “It is time to celebrate our victory out of silence.” Please join us.

DILRUBA AHMED's debut book, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press, 2011), won the Bakeless Prize awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her poems have appeared (or will soon appear) in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Memorious, New England Review, and Poetry. Her work has also been anthologized in Literature: The Human Experience (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016), Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas, 2010), and elsewhere. Ahmed is a lecturer in creative writing at Bryn Mawr College.

NAVYA DASARI is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Health and Societies and minoring in Creative Writing. She enjoys watching terrible movies, but has no guilty pleasures.

BECCA LAMBRIGHT is a sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio studying English and Creative Writing. She was a recipient of the 2015 Norman Maclean Nonfiction Award and was a national finalist in the Norman Mailer Writing Awards. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Cleaver Magazine, Textploit, Polyphany HS, Aerie International, and plain china's Best Undergraduate Writing 2017. In her free time she performs as a member of an all-female comedy troupe.

WAZHMAH OSMAN is filmmaker and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. Her research focuses on the politics of representation and visual culture of "The War On Terror" and "Afghan Women" and how they reverberate globally and locally in her native Afghanistan. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Postcards from Tora Bora, has screened in film festivals nationally and internationally.

YOLANDA WISHER is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia. Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, Chain, MELUS, and GOOD Magazine and the anthologies Gathering Ground and The Ringing Ear. Wisher is a 2016 HedgebrookWriter-in-Residence, 2015 Pew Fellow, Center for Performance and Civic Practice Catalyst Initiative grantee (2015), Leeway Art & Change Award recipient (2008), and the inaugural Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999). She holds an M.A in English/Creative Writing-Poetry from Temple University and a B.A. in English/Black Studies from Lafayette College. Wisher founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival (2006-2010) and served as Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (2010-2015). She currently works as Chief Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.

ZAHRA W. is an AWWP's Teen Voice's writer. She came to the United States with her parents and two younger sisters as refugees last October. After finishing her education, Zahra wants to work to improve the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan.

MARZIA is currently an advocate for Afghan women and girls and an organizer focused on international students at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She's worked with WomenNC, InterAct, Women's Campaign Fund, and Women for Afghan Women. Marzia has been published by the Afghan Women's Writing Project and Ms. Magazine. Her Research on the Violence Against Immigrant and Refugee Women was featured at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. She is also pursuing her MA from George Mason University.

Wednesday, 11/2

A poetry reading by Peter Middleton

Whenever We Feel Like It

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Peter Middleton is professor of English at the University of Southampton. He is the author of three books of scholarship, including Distant Reading: Performance, Readership, and Consumption in Contemporary Poetry, and a book of poetry, Aftermath; and he is the co-editor of Teaching Modernist Poetry. Middleton's research interests include science and literature, modern and contemporary poetry, poetry performance, ecology and climate change, critical theory, gender studies, and philosophy and literature. Currently he is writing a book on American science and poetry in the Cold War.

Thursday, 11/3

Alexandra Kleeman

Lucid Fiction reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Alexandra Kleeman lives in Staten Island. She is the author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Intimations, a collection of short stories, coming out in September 2016. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Conjunctions, BOMB, The White Review, and Guernica. Her nonfiction has appeared in Harper's, ELLE, Tin House, and n+1. She won the 2016 Bard Fiction prize, and she is a finalist for the prestigious Young Lions award of the New York Public Library which is championed by Ethan Hawke and other notables. She received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University, and has received grants and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Friday, 11/4

Saturday, 11/5

Sunday, 11/6

Monday, 11/7

Lunch with Eric Umansky of ProPublica

12:00 PM

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Eric Umansky is a deputy managing editor of ProPublica, where he edited their Pulitzer Prize-winning series about Wall Street. Previously, he wrote a column for Slate and was editor of He's also written for The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He is also a co-founder of Document Cloud. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

PoemTalk: Patrick Rosal's "Instance of an Island"

Herman Beavers, Jo Park, and Ross Gay, with host Al Filreis

4:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Join us for a live taping of PoemTalk, a roundtable discussion of a single poem, led by Al Filreis, featuring a a series of rotating guests. PoemTalk is a collaboration of the Kelly Writers House, PennSound, and the Poetry Foundation. PoemTalk's producer and host is Al Filreis, our engineer is Zach Carduner, and our editor is the same talented Zach Carduner (whose predecessors were Amaris Cuchanski, Allison Harris, and for most of the early episodes, Steve McLaughlin). PoemTalk is available on Jacket2, The Poetry Foundation, and iTunes.

A reading by Ross Gay

Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, "River." He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

Photo by: Natasha Komoda |

Tuesday, 11/8

Election returns party

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

We'll gather at Writers House to watch the election returns, eat good food, and celebrate (or mourn) what is sure to be an historic election.

Wednesday, 11/9

Brodsky Gallery Opening: Works by Liz Barr

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Liz Barr is an interdisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia and a recent graduate of the Penn Undergraduate Fine Arts Program. She generally works around the themes of beauty, ritual, religion, pop culture, and gender-based power dynamics.

The Brodsky Gallery is an art gallery integrated with the ground floor of the Writers House. Up to six exhibitions take place during the academic year from September through May. Openings feature a reception for the artist and an accompanying program; examples include panel discussions, poetry readings, film screenings, and technique demonstrations by the artist. Through exhibiting a diverse array of art media and cross-disciplinary programming, the Brodsky Gallery at KWH seeks to engage Penn students and the broader Philadelphia community with the interrelationships between literary and visual arts. Thanks to the generosity of Michael and Heidi Brodsky, whose support makes our gallery space possible, the Brodsky Gallery is a permanent project of Kelly Writers House.

Thursday, 11/10

RealArts@Penn presents Leland Sundries

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by Anthony DeCurtis
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Singer-songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton leads the Brooklyn band (and performs under the name of) Leland Sundries. He has been praised by the New York Times ("dedicated to storytelling in a way that recalls Woody Guthrie") and Philadelphia City Pages ("has that latter-day Waits/early morning Leonard Cohen vibe"). Leland Sundries' debut album Music for Outcasts, came out earlier this year. Nick will perform and discuss songwriting and his band with Anthony DeCurtis, who teaches in the creative writing program and is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone.

Friday, 11/11

Saturday, 11/12

Sunday, 11/13

Monday, 11/14

Hub Meeting

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp to:

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, 11/15

A poetry reading by Naomi Replansky

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: or 215-746-POEM
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Naomi Replansky was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1918. She has been writing poetry since she was 10, but writes slowly. Her first book, Ring Song, was published by Scribner in 1952 and was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry. A chapbook appeared in 1988. In 1994, The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994 was published by Another Chicago Press. Most recently, her Collected Poems (2012) was published by Black Sparrow/Godine. It was awarded the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America, and was a finalist for the Poets' Prize. Replansky has worked in offices and factories, as a lathe operator, computer programmer, medical editor, translator, and teacher. She now lives and writes in New York City. Her life-companion is Eva Kollisch, a writer and retired professor of literature. (The German translation of Kollisch's book, The Ground Under my Feet, was awarded the Theodor Kramer Prize in Austria.)

Wednesday, 11/16


Al Filreis and Patrick Bredehoft in conversation

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: or (215) 746-9748
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After more than five decades, Bob Dylan continues his enduring presence as one of the greatest American songwriters. Join us for a lunchtime discussion of his writing, politics, and influence, with a special focus on the album Highway 61. Dylan has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time; he has received numerous awards including Grammies, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Feminista Jones

2:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

In the wake of racist attacks against students, Feminista Jones visits her alma mater and speaks with undergraduate student leaders, faculty, and grad students about the implications, the history of protest, the power and responsibility of privilege, and what doing "the work" means (especially to "allies”).

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Our 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.

Thursday, 11/17

A conversation with Jia Tolentino

Feminism/s Series

Hosted by Emily Harnett

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Jia Tolentino is a contributing writer for the New Yorker's website, formerly the deputy editor of Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Grantland, Pitchfork, Slate, TIME, and the Fader.

Friday, 11/18

Saturday, 11/19

Sunday, 11/20

Monday, 11/21

Tuesday, 11/22

Wednesday, 11/23

Thursday, 11/24

Friday, 11/25

Saturday, 11/26

Sunday, 11/27

Monday, 11/28

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, 11/29

Sam Allingham and Emma Eisenberg

Bernheimer Symposium

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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Sam Allingham is the author of the story collection The Great American Songbook. His short fiction has appeared in No Tokens, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and One Story, and has received a Special Mention for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Temple University.

Emma Copley Eisenberg is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work can or will be found in American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Slate, Hyperallergic, The New Republic and others has been supported by Lambda Literary, Buzzfeed, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia and lives in West Philadelphia.

Wednesday, 11/30

Poetry Jam for Social Justice

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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