Fifteen minutes on home—a peace-yielding soundtrack for a raucous world

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Last night, at the Kelly Writers House, we thought about home—a theme that has carried my current class of memoirists forward. We were graced by the presence of the exquisite memoirist/novelist Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, the young adult novelist super star A.S. King, and the all-round talent (fiction, young adult fiction, New York Times/Slate style commentator) Margo Rabb. We were joined by Penn faculty, my current students, my previous students, and friends. Jessica Lowenthal facilitated every last detail. Jamie-Lee Josselyn brought her ineffable spirit. Al Filreis sat among us, in the home that he has built. Julia Bloch was the woman we all love, and, Julia, I'll be forever grateful for your words.

The evening was made possible by the generous gift of the Beltrans, whose endowment causes all of us who teach writing at Penn to think even harder about how we hope on behalf of our students.

We closed the evening by dimming the lights and listening to the voices of students and faculty as they answered the simple, confounding question, What is home? This is a gloriously produced soundtrack (thank you, Wexler Studio's Zach and Adelaide), made even more stunning by the guitar work of our own music man (and someday Grammy winner), Cole Bauer.

I encourage you to listen (here). In a fractured world, these words offer light.

For even more writing and thinking about home, I encourage you to stop by the Writers House and pick up your copy of our Beltran chapbook, Where You Live & What You Love.


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