Writers House names 2015 Fellows

Now in its 16th year, the Kelly Writers House (KWH) Fellows program continues to provide Penn students and other members of the University community with opportunities to actively engage with acclaimed authors and gain insight into their work in and outside of literary contexts.

KWH Associate Director Julia Bloch says sustained contact with the writers in residence enables students to interact with the authors’ works as living texts.

“This is really unusual for a discipline that often has a tendency to treat literature as a static, temporally bound object of analysis,” she says.

The 2015 Fellows are Anne Waldman, Dorothy Allison, and Jessica Hagedorn. Each of these writers has significantly impacted not only the field of literature in which she writes, but also the pressing social and cultural issues which inform her writing.

Waldman, who will visit Feb. 16-17, has authored more than 40 books of poetry and poetics and is a seminal member of the Outrider experimental poetry movement. Bloch calls her “one of our most prominent practitioners of a formally radical feminist poetics.”

Residing March 23-24, Allison is a poet and prose writer whom Bloch says “broke several taboos in feminist writing by openly tackling issues of class, sexuality, and trauma.” Allison’s novel “Bastard Out of Carolina” is required reading in many gender studies curricula at universities across the country.

Hagedorn, visiting April 27-28, is known for her work that crosses the boundaries of fiction and drama. “Her acclaimed novel ‘Dogeaters,’ in particular, launches a trenchant critique of American consumerism and occupation in the Philippines,” Bloch says.

The corresponding Fellows seminar, which immerses students in the work of the three Fellows over the course of the spring semester, is being cross-listed with Penn’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program.

Each Fellow will read from her work at 6:30 p.m. on the Monday of her visit, and discuss her work with Bloch the following Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m.

Both programs will take place at Writers House and be broadcast live on KWH-TV. Questions for the Tuesday morning discussion can be submitted by email at whfellow@writing.upenn.edu or by phone at 215-746-7636.

All programs are free and open to the public, though seating is limited. To reserve a seat, email whfellow@writing.upenn.edu.

Writers House