The Kelly Writers House has announced the KWH Fellows for 2018: novelist Paul Auster, poet Bernadette Mayer and journalist and commentator Charles M. Blow.
The KWH Fellows project is in its 19th year and is funded each year by a grant from Paul Kelly, to Penn professor and KWH Faculty Director Al Filreis.
It consists of a semester-long seminar for undergraduate students on the work of each of the KWH Fellows. This culminates in a three-day visit from each of the fellows, during which students can interact with the writer and ask them questions. The writer will also hold two programs which will be available to all members of the public.
The KWH Fellows for 2018 have a wide range of backgrounds: Auster is an of postmodern fiction, Mayer is an and Blow is and commentator on contemporary topics.
All three authors are doing work that is very cutting edge,” said 2012 College graduate Lily Applebaum, who is also the assistant to the faculty director and the coordinator of the KWH Fellows program.
She said she is excited to see how the students who enroll in a class focused on these writers will draw inspiration from these innovators.
Filreis, who has been teaching the selective seminar since it started in 1999, predicts that this year’s class will be “outrageously good” because of the group of Fellows that he said mixes well and are different enough that they balance each other out nicely.
“The class keeps me on my toes because it is new every year,” Filreis said. “The students and I are doing this together, so it is a true seminar.”
He also mentioned that he particularly enjoys this type of seminar because “as a teacher I rarely meet the writers of the content I teach.”
The KWH also hosts the two public events, which often include readings, book signings and a casual interview/conversation session served with brunch.
According to Applebaum, the Fellows program is one of the opportunities that KWH has to host famous writers with household recognition, like past Fellows T.C. Boyle or Joyce Carol Oates.
“We are able to have smaller, intimate gatherings that the Kelly Writers House is known for,” Applebaum said, “even with these bigger-name writers, who could sell a huge venue elsewhere easily.”