Philadelphia Host Committee
Meet the #AWP22 host committee for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and read their host picks for enjoying Philly during #AWP22 on March 23–26, 2022.
Kelsey Scouten Bates
Kelsey Scouten Bates is the John C. Haas Director of the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. Kelsey has an MS in writing (rhetoric and comp) and wants other writers to use the Rosenbach's collection for inspiration and information in their own creative projects.
What excites me most about Philadelphia is the history here. My favorite things to do that inspire my writing and my life include walking down historic streets in Old City, Society Hill, and Queen Village; visiting great collections at the Rosenbach, the Free Library, the Athenaeum, and the Library Company; and enjoying used bookstores like Brickbat Books in Queen Village or the Book Trader in Old City.
Susette Nicole Brooks
Susette Nicole Brooks is an essayist with an MFA in nonfiction from Goucher College. She is also the director of multicultural marketing for Penguin Publishing Group, a public affairs officer in the New Jersey Army National Guard, and a board member at Philadelphia Stories. She lives, writes, and loves in Philadelphia.
If you have the time, check out Graffiti Pier. You can find it on a map. Once you arrive, it will seem unassuming, but trust me, this is a gem. You will find taggers creating new art or families and teens enjoying the city views. This is a not-to-miss, quintessential Philadelphia public art space.
Sarah Browning is the author of the poetry collections Killing Summer and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden. She is cofounder of Split This Rock and for ten years was executive director. Now living in Philadelphia, she received an MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Rutgers Camden. More at www.sarahbrowning.net
Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books is a marvelous Black-owned bookstore and cafe in historic Germantown. Making Worlds Bookstore and Social Center is a nonprofit cooperative project in West Philly.
Feliza Casano is the marketing and publicity director at Lanternfish Press. Originally from the Midwest, she moved to the Philadelphia area to attend Rosemont College’s MA in Publishing program, where she graduated in 2015. Her reviews and essays have been published on Unbound Worlds, Tor.com, The Portalist, and the Mary Sue.
One of my favorite things about living in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, which neighbors the convention center, is the restaurants nearby. My coworkers and I have held lunch meetings at ShangHai 1 and discussed business over cakes at my favorite bakery, A La Mousse. Aside from food (though Philly is a fantastic food city), one of my favorite places in the city is the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, which is home to a gorgeous greenhouse, and Shofuso, a Japanese house and garden built in a classic seventeenth century style. While Shofuso may not quite be open to the public yet—it closes for the winter and reopens in late March—the horticulture center’s grounds are open to the public during the day, making it a lovely stop when you need a bit of a breather during the conference.
Jeannine A. Cook
Jeannine A. Cook is a writer, educator, and curator. Jeannine is the shopkeeper at Harriett’s Bookshop in Fishtown and Ida’s Bookshop in Collingswood, NJ. Her work has been featured by Vogue, O, the Oprah Magazine, Google, Forbes, and INC.
Harriett’s Bookshop, Colored Girls Museum, Franny Lou’s Porch, Marsh & Mane, Yowie, Grant Blvd, the Art Dept.
Emma Copley Eisenberg
Emma Copley Eisenberg is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, most recently The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, and the codirector of Blue Stoop, a home for Philly writers.
The Paul Robeson House & Museum at 49th & Walnut honors the legacy of the extraordinary performer and Philly resident Paul Robeson. You can find more Philadelphia info and recommendations on Blue Stoop's website.
Nomi Eve is the author of Henna House and The Family Orchard, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club main selection and was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Brown University and has worked as a freelance book reviewer for the Village Voice and New York Newsday. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Glimmer Train Stories, he Voice Literary Supplement, Conjunctions, and the International Quarterly. She directs the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing at Drexel University and lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her family.
Harriett's Bookstore, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Museum, the Mutter Museum, the Rosenbach, the Museum of the Revolution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Daisy Fried's fourth book is The Year the City Emptied: After Baudelaire (Flood Editions, 2022). She is the author of three other books of poems, most recently Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (Pitt, 2013). Also a critic and the poetry editor of Scoundrel Time, a journal of political writing and art, she teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Pints/burgers: Fergie's Pub & Upstairs at Fergie's, New Wave Café
Fun markets: the Italian Market, Reading Terminal Market (best sandwich: pork/sharp provolone/greens at DeNic's).
Exercise/walk: Schuylkill River Trail/Kelly Drive.
Art: Institute of Contemporary Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
In Chinatown: Ocean Harbor, Dim Sum Garden, Terakawa Ramen. There are lots of good restaurants on or near 13th St. between Spruce/Locust and Chestnut.
Anne Ishii is the executive director of Asian Arts Initiative. Anne is a writer and editor by trade, with a background in Japanese letters. In 2013, she cofounded MASSIVE GOODS: a lifestyle brand and arts agency representing queer and feminist artists from Japan. She has translated and rewritten over twenty books.
Making Worlds Bookstore in West Philadelphia (worker owned co-op and social center), Mina's World in West Philadelphia (cafe and mutual aid with the best samosas), Giovanni's Room-Philly AIDS Thrift (THE best thrift store-bookstore combo and the oldest continuously run gay bookstore in the nation), Ray's Cafe in Chinatown for an old school coffee experience and delicious beef noodle soup.
Rachel Loeper has taught ESL, remedial reading, and creative writing. The PA Statewide Afterschool Network honored her as an Afterschool Champion (2011). Publications include "Combat Sports Bloggers, Mad Scientist Poets and Comic Scriptwriters: Engaging Boys in Writing," (Afterschool Matters, 2014) and "Extending a Mighty Hand: Outreach and Retention Strategies” (Information Age Publishing, 2019). She received a BA in English literature and writing from Goucher College and an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University. She has served on the board of Wissahickon Charter School since 2018. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books is a coffee shop and bookstore located in the heart of the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Founded by Marc Lamont Hill in 2017, Uncle Bobbie's was created to provide underserved communities with access to books and a space where everyone feels valued. In addition to Uncle Bobbie’s specially curated book selection, they also serve high quality coffee, food products, and more, including apparel and children's games. They are also a community space that holds free author talks, workshops, and other events, including weekly story time for kids and back to school drives.
Kathleen Volk Miller
Kathleen Volk Miller has written for LitHub, NYT Modern Love, O, the Oprah magazine, Salon, the New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Family Circle, Philadelphia Magazine, Drunken Boat, and other venues. She is coeditor of the anthology Humor: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2014). She is coeditor of the Painted Bride Quarterly and cohost of PBQ’s podcast, Slush Pile. She holds “Healing through Writing” workshops and consults on literary magazine startup and working with college students. She is a professor at Drexel University.
The Pen & Pencil Club (1522 Latimer St.) is the country's oldest journalism bar. It's an iconic space with a perpetual cone of silence. Open to the public for special events and to the restaurant industry after hours, it's quintessentially Philly in that you never know who will be there, though you're sure to have a story-worthy time. It's as old-school as Philly itself.
Carla Spataro is the MFA program director at Rosemont College and the editorial director of Philadelphia Stories. She is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in numerous journals, including Exacting Clam, Sequestrum, december, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Permafrost. Her work has been anthologized, most recently in Taboos and Transgressions.
Best Mexican: Tequila's Restaurant (16th and Locust).
Best opera-singing waiter restaurant: the Victor Cafe (13th and Dickinson).
Best pubs: Monk's, Fergie's, McGillian's.
Best authentic Italian cookies: Varallo's (10th and Morris).
Best Italian rum cake: Termini's (Reading Terminal Market).
Best cannoli: Isgro's (Italian Market).
Sightseeing: US Constitution Center, Mutter Museum, Rosenbach Museum, Phila Free Library, Whispering Benches in Fairmont Park, the Graff House (where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence) and the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.
Must-see markets and shopping: Reading Terminal, the Italian Market (9th Street), and the Hung Vuong Plaza (11th and Washington).
Best thing that no one will tell you to do: take a walk over the Ben Franklin Bridge on a sunny day—if you don't want to walk back, you can catch the ferry in front of the Camden Aquarium.
Kirwyn Sutherland is a poet who makes poems centering the Black experience in America. His work has been published in American Poetry Review, Cosmonauts Ave, APIARY Magazine, and elsewhere. Kirwyn has served as poetry editor for APIARY Magazine. He has a chapbook, Jump Ship, from Thread Makes Blanket Press.
Uncle Bobbie's Bookstore, the Colored Girls' Museum, Khyber Pass (restaurant/Pub), African American Museum, Morris and Awbury Arboretum, Paul Robeson House, Harriett Bookshop, Hakim's Bookstore, SOUTH Jazz Kitchen.