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ITHACA, N.Y. – Semi Chellas, writer and co-executive producer of the acclaimed television series Mad Men, will speak on “Telling Secrets: Notes from the Writers’ Room” on March 10 in Cornell’s Klarman Hall Auditorium. The 4:30 pm talk is free and the public is welcome.

Chellas ran the writers’ room for Mad Men’s final two seasons.  In her talk, she’ll reflect on the unique nature of television writing, such as how a group works on behalf of an auteur. She’ll explore how facts and research shape a story, as well as the place of the personal in writing characters created by someone else.

One of the most critically admired television dramas of all time, Mad Men has been praised for its meticulous recreation of American culture in the 1960s.  The show follows the intertwined lives of advertising executives Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway, and others as they navigate the social upheavals of the decade along with more personal struggles.

Chellas received six Emmy nominations for her work on Mad Men, and shared the Writers Guild award with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner for the episode “The Other Woman.”  She was also the co-creator, executive producer and head writer of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Canadian network drama, The Eleventh Hour.  She did graduate work in English at Cornell on a Mellon Fellowship before attending The Canadian Film Centre in Toronto.

This event is sponsored by the Cornell University Department of English. For more information, visit, email, or call 607-255-7847.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.