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Writers House Fellows Seminar: Contemporary American Writing

ENGL 285.301
M 2-5:00

This is the fifth annual Kelly Writers House Fellows Seminar, which features visits by very eminent writers as "Fellows" of the Kelly Writers House, the student-conceived writing arts collaborative at 3805 Locust Walk. The seminar is taught by Professor Al Filreis, Class of 1942 Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Writers House, and will include extended visits to the class by Walter Bernstein, a revered screenwriter (THE MOLLY MAGUIRES, THE FRONT, FAIL SAFE, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) who was blacklisted through most the 1950s because of his radical political affiliations; Laurie Anderson, the avant-garde performance artist; and Susan Sontag, the brilliant essayist, art theorist, and novelist.

Throughout the semester we will study the work of these three writers--and some of the materials "around" them that make the particular contemporary context in which each operates so compelling. Enrollment in the course is strictly limited. Students will be enrolled only by permit of the instructor and are asked to send a one- or two-paragraph statement by email to describing why they want to participate in this project and what academic (or perhaps non-academic) experience makes them especially eligible. Participants will write frequent short position papers; will engage in team projects following up each of the Fellows' visits; will be involved in interviewing the three Fellows; and will take a comprehensive final examination. The Writers House Fellows program is made possible by a generous grant from Paul Kelly. The 2002 Fellows syllabus is here: The previous years' Fellows are described here:, including links to digital video files of the writers' visits.

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