February 20, 2002
Pearl Cleage to Speak at Smith
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-Playwright, novelist
and performance artist Pearl Cleage will be the scholar-in-residence
in the Smith College Department of Afro-American Studies from
Feb. 28 to March 5. Her stay will culminate in two free public
events: "In Honor of the Writer's Mind," a panel presentation
and discussion of her work, at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4,
and "From the Writer's Mind," a reading by Cleage at
7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, in the Neilson Library Browsing Room.
Cleage is an Atlanta-based writer whose works include a novel,
"What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day" (Avon Books,
1997); plays, including "Flyin' West" and "Blues
for an Alabama Sky;" essays, including "Mad at Miles"
and "Good Brother Blues;" and articles that have appeared
in Essence Magazine, Ms., Vibe, Rap Pages and many other publications.
"What Looks Like Crazy" was an Oprah Book Club pick
in October of 1998 and appeared on the New York Times bestseller
list for nine weeks. Her latest novel, "I Wish I Had A Red
Dress," was released in July, 2001.
Cleage's recent theatrical works include "Bourbon at the
Border," a full-length drama commissioned and premiered
at the Alliance Theatre in 1997 under the direction of frequent
Cleage collaborator and Alliance artistic director Kenny Leon.
Their previous collaborations include "Blues For an Alabama
Sky," commissioned and premiered at the Alliance in 1995,
and "Flyin' West," commissioned and premiered in 1992.
An anthology of her plays, "'Flyin' West' and Other
Plays," was published by the Theatre Communications Group
"Blues" returned to Atlanta as part of the 1996 Cultural
Olympiad in Atlanta in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games.
Since opening at the Alliance under the direction of Leon, "Flyin'
West" has been produced at more than a dozen venues across
the country, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.,
the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Indiana Repertory Company,
Crossroads Theatre Company, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival,
the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, the St. Louis Black Repertory
Theatre, and the Long Wharf Theatre-making it one of the most
produced new plays in the country for 1994.
Cleage's collection of essays, "Deals With The Devil and
Other Reasons to Riot," was published by Ballantine/One
World in 1993. "Mad at Miles: A Blackwoman's Guide to Truth"
was published by the Cleage Group in 1991. She is a former columnist
for the Atlanta Tribune and her work has also appeared in numerous
anthologies, including "Double Stitch," "Black
Drama in America," "New Plays from the Women's Project,"
and "Contemporary Plays by Women of Color."
Cleage is the mother of a daughter, Deignan, and the wife of
Zaron W. Burnett, Jr.
These events have been sponsored by
the Smith College Afro-American Studies Department and the Theatre