Women’s History Month’s Feature: Pearl Cleage, Playwright, Essayist, Novelist, Poet, and Political Activist
lovers! In celebration of Women’s History Month, I would like to present to
you, playwright, essayist, novelist, poet, and political activist, Pearl
Cleage. In 1981, she produced her first play, Puppetplay, followed by Hospice
in 1983, Good News in 1984, and Essential in 1985. She also produced
three of her most well-known works Flyin’ West (1992), Blues for an
Alabama Sky (1995) and Bourbon at the Border (1997) at the Tony Award
winning Alliance Theatre in partnership with artistic director Kenny Leon. She
is currently the Distinguished Artist in Residence at this same theatre.
In 1987, she
became the founding editor of Catalyst Magazine, an Atlanta-based literary
journal. In the 1990s, she wrote a recurring column called “Stop Making Sense” in
the Atlanta Tribune. She has also had her articles published in Essence
and The New York Times Book Review.
start writing novels until the mid-1990s and enjoys writing across genres where
she has earned critical acclaim. Her works are centered around topics/themes of
sexism and racism specifically related to issues of domestic violence in the
black community. She has won many awards including the AUDELCO for her play Hospice
(1983) and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction in
2007 for her novel, Baby Brother’s Blues (2006).
As a political
activist, she self-identifies as “a third-generation black nationalist and a
radical feminist” having grown up in the 1960s amidst the three social
movements of the time: the Civil Rights Movement, Antiwar Movement, and the
Women’s Movement. She is also an advocate for AIDS and women’s rights. She
pulls these experiences into her writing thereby imparting the message of hope
and motivation to Black women who have faced unique challenges.
Writing Tip: I will focus on the plays written by Pearl Cleage. When writing plays, you should have a message that you impart to your audience. I love that Pearl Cleage’s plays tell real stories that dive into the lives and emotions of people living in urban African American communities. She pulls no punches by delving into the realities of the good and bad life choices that they make and the impact these choices have on them.
Originally Published on https://vocalexpressions.blogspot.com