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  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Kelly Writers House and St. Mary's Church

LORENE CARY—senior lecturer in Creative Writing and founder of both Art Sanctuary and SafeKidsStories—has written a brilliant new memoir, Ladysitting, about the year her family spent with Lorene’s 100-year-old Nana. On Wednesday, October 23, at 6:00pm, the Kelly Writers House will host Cary for a reading and discussion as we celebrate both her and her work. Will you join us?

Our event will begin at 6:00 PM, with a reception and time to mingle. Cary will read from the memoir at 6:30 PM. Everyone is then invited to move to St. Mary’s Church (3916 Locust Walk, just a few doors down from the Writers House), where there will be a performance at 7:30 PM from The Gospel According to Nana, an opera based on the memoir. Performers will include Summer Hassan (soprano), Megan McFadden (mezzo), and Grant Loehnig (on piano)

Ladysitting is a moving, sometimes funny, journey through secrets, lies, and epiphanies, one that millions of families make each year, as they struggle together to share life--and face death. Ladysitting was ranked #1 in O Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now” and was featured on WHYY’s Radio Times. Ladysitting has also inspired the opera The Gospel According to Nana, written by Lorene and set by composer Liliya Ugay, set to premiere in the spring.

Eager to see you there,

Kelly Writers House



Wednesday, October 23

6:00 PM: reception at Writers House (3805 Locust Walk)

6:30 PM: reading at Writers House (3805 Locust Walk)

7:30 PM: performance at St. Mary’s Church (3916 Locust Walk)

Introduced by Sara Albert, Associate Editor,; Sonali Deliwala; and Samira Mehta

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English, and the Center for Africana Studies

KWH Calendar:




LORENE CARY was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1956. In 11th grade, she enrolled in the formerly all-white, all-male St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. Cary tells that story in her memoir Black Ice, which reviewers have called “brutally honest” and “stunning.” Her first novel, The Price of a Child, fictionalized the story of a female fugitive from slavery and was selected in 2003 as the inaugural One Book, One Philadelphia choice. Cary’s other works include a girlfriend novel, Pride; FREE! Great Escapes from Slavery on the Underground Railroad, for young readers; and If Sons, Then Heirs, a family saga with love, land, and lynching at its center.

The founder of Art Sanctuary and, Cary has twice received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches Creative Writing. Cary wrote scripts for the videos at President’s House memorial on Independence Mall and has received the Philadelphia Award and six honorary doctorates.

Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century was published in May 2019 by Norton. Cary is currently on deadline to revise My General Tubman, her first play, or, as director James Ijames says, "your world premiere," for January 2020.


“[Cary’s] family is a fascinating pastiche, and her narration captivates with humor and forthrightness.” -Martha Anne Toll, NPR

“Thoughtful reflections on pain, love, and family.” -Kirkus Reviews

“[Cary] movingly portrays what it’s like caring for a loved one—bureaucratic frustrations, angry outbursts, and all—and reckons with her grandmother’s contradictions.” -Elizabeth Sile, Real Simple