Two Days at Penn With Short Storyist John Barth

facebook twitter google print email
Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460April 11, 2012

The short stories of American postmodern novelist John Barth have been required reading in creative writing courses at colleges and universities across the country for decades.

Barth's legacy of experimental fiction has earned him a dedicated following of readers in a career that has spanned seven decades.  His is a self-conscious and self-parodying writing that “acknowledges its own fixation on meta-narrative.”

Barth will visit Penn April 23-24 for evening readings and informal teaching sessions with young writers, aspiring writers and writer-critics. He is one of three acclaimed writers who have visited campus this semester as Spring 2012 Fellows at Kelly Writers House. Performance artist Karen Finley was at Penn Feb. 13-14 and poet Ron Silliman March 19-20.

Barth's first novel, The Floating Opera (1957), was nominated for the National Book Award. He was nominated again for his 1968 story collection, Lost in the Funhouse, and won the National Book Award in 1973 for his collection of postmodern novellas, Chimera.  In 1997, he won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Fiction, and in 1998 he was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.

Seating is strictly limited for Barth's public programs. He will do a reading of his work at Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, on Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, April 24, at 10 a.m. the Writers House will host a brunch followed by a one-hour public interview/conversation. Attendance for both programs is by reservation only. RSVPs may be made to Both programs will be broadcast live worldwide on KWH-TV, and streamed live on the Web.

In the Writers House Fellows Seminar, students study the work of all three Fellows. The course is taught by Al Filreis, Kelly Professor and Writers House faculty director.  This year's coordinator of the program is Jamie-Lee Josselyn.

The course description, syllabi from previous years, images and bios of this year’s Fellows and past Fellows, as well as links to archived readings and Webcasts, are available at