Pride, Prejudice, Maus, and More in Writers House Online Book Groups

Kelly Writers House is nothing if not eclectic in its offerings, and that goes for the online book-discussion groups it makes available to Penn alumni and their families as much as for the parade of writers and artists who visit the Victorian cottage at 3805 Locust Walk.

This year Writers House is hosting two month-long discussion groups and several five-day sessions devoted to works ranging in time from the 18th century to the present and in place from the English countryside to the Nazi death camps to New York after 9/11.

From January 5 through February 5, 2008, Kelly Professor of English and Writers House guiding force Al Filreis will lead a discussion of The Writing on the Wall, a novel centered around the events of September 11 by Lynn Sharon Schwartz. In the second month-long program, Michael Gamer, an associate professor of English who specializes in 18th- and 19th-century British literature, will lead a group on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from April 1-30.

The five-day discussions kicked off this fall with groups probing Richard Ford’s “Abyss” (October 1-5) and Jazz-era poet Mina Loy’s “Lunar Baedeker” (November 5-9). Still to come are groups focusing on the A.S. Byatt short story, “A Stone Woman,” February 4-8; Maus, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust, March 17-21; and two poems by Emily Dickinson, May 19-23.

To join, all you need is an email account and a “willingness to engage in free and perhaps free-wheeling discussion of an interesting book with a member of Penn’s faculty,” as the Writers House website puts it. For more information on the groups and to sign up, visit 


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