Kelly Writers House welcomes latest Fellows

Fifteen years ago, faculty and staff at Kelly Writers House (KWH) decided to proceed with a novel yet lofty plan: bring eminent writers into the cozy cottage at 3805 Locust Walk.

“Not perhaps a smart idea, since the space is small and these writers can command huge audiences,” says Al Filreis, the Kelly Family Professor of English in the School of Arts & Sciences and faculty director of KWH. “But we’ve found over the years that what we lose in mass audience we gain in intimacy, genuine give-and-take, and real learning from contemporary masters of the field.”

Penn will host three celebrated writers as Kelly Writers House Fellows during the spring semester. Journalist and essayist Buzz Bissinger will visit the University from Feb. 17-18, followed by fiction writer T.C. Boyle from March 31-April 1, and poet Rae Armantrout from April 28-29.

Bissinger, a nonfiction writer renowned for his investigative and sports reporting, is the author of numerous books, including the bestselling “Friday Night Lights,” which was adapted into a major motion picture and acclaimed television series, and “Prayer for the City,” an insider’s view of the day-to-day machinations of the administration of former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell.

Boyle is the author of 24 books of fiction, among which are “When the Killing’s Done San Miguel” and “T.C. Boyle Stories II.” His 1988 novel, “World’s End,” was a National Book Award finalist and won the PEN/Faulkner Award for best novel of the year.

Armantrout has published 12 collections of poetry. Her 2010 collection, “Versed,” won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Since 2000, the KWH Fellows Program has connected prominent writers, writer-critics, and poets with students and emerging writers in the Penn community, presenting opportunities to interact with the Fellows at evening readings and informal teaching sessions.

During their two-day visits, the Fellows give a Monday evening reading at 6:30 p.m. at KWH and a one-hour public interview/conversation on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Reservations are required for both programs and fill up quickly. RSVP at

The programs will be broadcast live on KWH-TV and archived online.    

Kelly Writers House