Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Kelly Writers House Fellows Seminar: T.C. Boyle, Buzz Bissinger, Rae Armantrout

ENGL 274.301
Mondays 2-5:00 pm


Note: Admission to this course is by permission of the instructor only. Applicants should contact Lily Applebaum at <>.

This is the 16th 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, Kelly Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Writers House, and will include extended visits to the class by novelist T.C. Boyle, poet Rae Armantrout, and journalist/nonfiction writer Buzz Bissinger. Boyle has published 14 novels and more than 100 short stories and is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. Armantrout, one of the founding Language Poets, has published 10 books of poetry and is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Buzz Bissinger, whose books, include Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City, has also won the Pulitzer Prize.  Bissinger is not just a Philadelphian but a Penn graduate (1976).

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.  Participants must be available on three Tuesday mornings during the semester. The Writers House Fellows program is made possible by a generous grant from Paul Kelly.

Al Filreis 


fulfills requirements
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major