I’ve been accepted into the Public Theatre’s Emerging Writers Group!!!

I’ve known about this for several weeks now, but wanted to wait until the official press release was sent out to tell everyone my good news. I’ve been accepted into the Public Theater’s Emerging Writer’s Group, which is an inaugural program of the Public Writers initiative. All the info is below. I’m also directing a one act play called “Bonfrieg” for the Long Island City One Act Festival, so things have been quite busy.

Hope everyone is doing well in the New Year!

Here are some links to articles about the group:



All That Chat









Time Warner Is the Founding Sponsor of

The Public Writers Initiative

January 16, 2008 – Expanding on its 50-year history of developing new plays and cultivating new voices for the American Theater, The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, Executive Director Mara Manus) has announced the 12 members of the inaugural Emerging Writers Group, a new program launching next month that targets playwrights at the earliest stages in their careers and nurtures their artistic growth by providing necessary resources and support.

With this new initiative, The Public hopes to create an artistic home for a diverse and exceptionally talented group of up-and-coming playwrights. The Emerging Writers Group is the first element of The Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that will provide key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of The Public Writers Initiative.

The inaugural group of Emerging Writers was selected from more than 700 applicants. The 12 selected are Radha Blank, Leila Buck, Raúl Castillo, Chris Cragin Day, Christina Gorman, Ethan Lipton, Alejandro Morales, Nick Nanna Hadikwa Mwaluko, Don Nguyen, Akin Salawu, Alladin Ullah, and Pia Wilson. Each writer will receive a $3,000 stipend; participate in a biweekly writers’ group led by Associate Artistic Director Mandy Hackett and The Public’s Literary Department; attend master classes with established playwrights; receive career development advice and artistic support from acclaimed writers and Public artistic staff; receive complimentary tickets to Public shows and supplemental stipends for productions at other theaters; and have their work presented in at least one reading at The Public.

Artistic Director Oskar Eustis said, “The EWG is our effort to fling open the doors of the Public to talented young writers who haven’t had access to the mainstream theatrical community. Writers are the lifeblood of the theatre, and the voice of the people – with the EWG we hope to give a new burst of diverse energy to the American theatre.”


“As a media and entertainment company, we share the Public Theater’s commitment to nurturing new voices,” said Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Time Warner. “We are honored to partner with The Public to kick off the Emerging Writers Group—and the Writers Initiative—with these 12 gifted storytellers.”

The Public Writers Initiative will foster a web of supportive artistic relationsh
ips across generations of writers that will influence the future of contemporary American theater. Many of today’s most honored and recognized playwrights such as John Guare, Suzan-Lori Parks, David Rabe, Christopher Durang, Wallace Shawn, Ntozake Shange, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner and Nilo Cruz have a long history developing their work at The Public. The Public has also produced some of today’s most important plays and musicals, such as Hair, Sticks and Bones, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, The Colored Museum, Topdog/Underdog, Caroline, Or Change, and A Chorus Line. The Public Writers Initiative will ensure that The Public’s great tradition of supporting playwrights and playwriting will remain central to its future.

“We are thrilled to welcome 12 exceptionally talented writers to our home at The Public Theater,” said Associate Artistic Director Mandy Hackett. “We launch this program with tremendous enthusiasm and look forward to nurturing new work from such a dynamic and promising group of young writers.”

2009 Emerging Writers Group application guidelines will be available as of spring 2008. Check www.publictheater.org/artists/emergingwriters.php regularly for details on applying for the next cycle of this program.


Radha Blank

As a writer, Radha Blank finds inspiration in the voice and rhythm of today’s youth. In her one-woman ‘dramedy’ Kenya, which the Village Voice called “riveting…immediately alive,” a teenaged b-ball phenom confronts womanhood, misogyny and loss through conversations with her dead mother. After successful runs at the Womankind Festival, Dixon Place and The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Kenya garnered numerous awards including New Professional Theatre’s Annual Writers Award for Best Script, The NY Foundation For the Arts Artists Fellowship and Nickelodeon’s Writers Fellowship. This New York native has since written for hit Nick Jr. T.V. shows “Little Bill” and musical series “The Backyardigans.” Radha even spent a year developing “My Life Is A Joke,” an original pilot about an aspiring female teen comic for Nickelodeon’s sister network, The N. In 2008, Nickelodeon will premiere Papa Moco Jumbie, an animated musical tale she wrote about a Caribbean boy and his father who bond during carnival time. Seeing writing as a path to self-discovery and self-empowerment, Radha has instructed NYC youth in hip-hop, poetry and playwriting for over twelve years. She is a student of every child she meets and aims to use her writing to give greater voice to today’s youth.


Leila Buck

Leila Buck is an Arab-American actress, writer and teaching artist. For the past nine years, she has performed her one-woman shows ISite and In The Crossing across the country and around the world. After five years training and working with Creative Arts Team, she is currently New York Theatre Workshop’s teaching artist at the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, and teaches dramatic storytelling with Al Bustan Seeds of Culture in Philadelphia. Leila has conducted workshops on storytelling, creating new work, and drama for cross-cultural engagement at conferences, universities, schools and cultural centers in the U.S., Europe and China. Her writing and performance work have been featured in Lebanon’s Daily Star and The New York Times and on Brian Lehrer Live and WBAI NY public radio; her essay on Arab-American theater is published in Etching Our Own Image, from Cambridge Scholars Press. Leila is a founding member of Nibras and Mixed Company, and a Usual Suspect with New York Theatre Workshop.


Raúl Castillo

Raúl Castillo is a writer, actor and bass player (for the band Monster Rally). Born and raised between McAllen, TX and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mex., he currently resides in NYC. A proud member of LAByrinth Theater Company, his plays City of Palms and Knives & Other Sharp Objects have been read at The Public as part of LAB’s Barn Series Festival after being developed at the company’s Summer Intensive in Bennington, VT. Raúl is a graduate of Boston University, where he studied with Derek Walcott, Kate Snodgrass and the poet Tino Villanueva. Raúl’s plays Mosquito Street and a bill of one-acts under the title Border Stories were presented at the Kennedy Center-American College Theater Festival at Brandeis University. One of those one-acts – Death on my Mind – was published by Dramatic Publishing in “KC-ACTF Best Student One-Acts, Vol. 5.” It was later presented by NOSTROS (L.A.), the Lark (NYC) and as part of the Cherry Lane’s Alternation 2001 (NYC). Other past writing credits include Rebel Verses (NYC) and the Bloomington Playwright’s Project (Bloomington,IN) with readings by Intar (NYC) and Teatro Luna (Chicago). As an actor, Raul works regularly on stage and screen. Recent credits include the world premiere of Jose Rivera’s School of the Americas (Public/LAByrinth), a tour of Mando Alvarado’s Throat, a lead in the feature film Amexicano (Tribeca Film Festival) and Cruz Angeles’s feature Don’t Let Me Drown (Sundance Lab Participant).


e=”;font-family:Arial;font-size:85%;”>Chris Cragin Day

Chris Cragin Day joined the New York City theater community almost four years ago. Her childhood overseas is reflected in both her work and her hesitancy to answer the question, “Where are you from?” Though she certainly fits in the “emerging” category, she has had her plays produced at universities and small semi-professional theaters around the country. In New York City, her full length play Deadheading Roses was produced at the Lamb’s Little Theatre in Times Square, and she’s had numerous readings and workshops including Debutantes Anonymous at The Lamb’s Theatre and A War in a Manger by Maeutic Theatre Works. Chris received her MFA in Stage Directing from Baylor University and has since gone on to commit all her time and energy to her writing. Chris currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, director Steve Day, and their soon-to-be daughter, Kansas.


Christina Gorman

Christina Gorman’s play Split Wide Open was produced at the Summer Play Festival in New York City and was developed with a fellowship at Ensemble Studio Theatre through its New Voices Program. The play was also runner-up for the 2005 Princess Grace Award. Her play DNA was produced at the Hangar Theatre as well as at the New York International Fringe Festival, where it received the award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting. Keep the Change, co-written with Joy Tomasko, was produced as part of Women’s Project’s site-specific extravaganza in the World Financial Center’s 2007 Word of Mouth Festival. Christina is a member of The Torture Project Ensemble and with them collaborated on As Far As We Know, which was developed through a Drama League New Directors/New Works fellowship, produced by Uncommon Cause Theatre as part of the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival, and extended as part of the Fringe Encores Series. Christina’s work has also been presented and/or developed at Women’s Project, Lark Play Development Center, and The Juilliard School. She is a member of Women’s Project Playwrights Lab. Her other works include Sacred Ground and Diary of an Adman.


Ethan Lipton

Ethan Lipton‘s plays include Goodbye April, Hello May (HERE, dir. by Patrick McNulty), One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (Ohio Theatre, dir. by Emma Griffin), Meat (dir. Ken Schmoll in NY, Tom Mansfield in Edinburgh, Steven Chabon in L.A.), and Hope on the Range (The Complex, dir. by Brian Kite). Ethan has worked with Clubbed Thumb, Buffalo Nights and Upstart theater companies and been a writer in residence at New York Stage and Film. As a songwriter and bandleader, Ethan and his band have released three critically acclaimed albums and played extensively in New York and beyond, most recently at the Prospect Park Bandshell and Joe’s Pub.


Alejandro Morales

Alejandro Morales is the author of the silent concerto, sweaty palms, sebastian (2002 Whitfield Cook Award), expat/inferno (2003 FringeNYC Best Production), marea, and castle of blood (an adaptation of the 1964 cult film of the same name). His plays have been presented/developed at NYSF/Public Theater, INTAR, South Coast Repertory, Mabou Mines, HERE, New Dramatists and Packawallop Productions, a company he co-founded and runs with director Scott Ebersold. A collection of his plays was recently published by No Passport, a collective dedicated to diversity in the American Theater. His collected works is also available as part of a digital series on Latino Theater published by Alexander Street Press. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and an alumus of New Dramatists.


Nick Nanna Hadikwa Mwaluko

Nick Mwaluko was born in Tanzania but grew up mostly in neighboring Kenya. Mwaluko worked with Reuters News Agency in Nairobi and New York City. Mwaluko attended Columbia University under scholarship and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for a year. A Point Scholar, GLAAD COAD (Communities of African Descent) Fellow, recipient of several scholarships from Columbia University including the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship, J.R. Humphrey Fellowship for Dramatic Writing, Columbia University Fellowship for Playwriting, fluent in French, English, Kiswahili, KiChagaa and KiGogo, Mwaluko graduated Magna Cum Laude. Plays include: Waafrika (a trilogy), Are Women Human? Trailer Park Tundra, Ata, Asymmetrical Me, Basi Bwana, Once A Man, Always A Man and many others.


Don Nguyen

Don studied acting, writing, and directing at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. In 1999, Don became the Artistic Director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska and served until 2003. As a writer, Don’s full length play Three To Beam Up was produced by the Shelterbelt Theatre. Don’s one act play The Harlequin Maneuvre was a finalist in the Riant Theatre Strawberry One Act festival (2004) and was published in The Best of The Strawberry One Act Festival, Volume 1. Don recently worked with the Public Theater and Queens Theatre in the Park co-directing week 5 of Suzan-Lori Parks’s 365 Days / 365 Plays with Rob Urbinati.


Akin Salawu

As a Stanford undergrad, Akin Salawu founded and ran Ergo student theater troupe which earned him the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for mounting culturally diverse theatre. In June 2006, he received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University’s Film Division, where he was accepted with the Dean’s Fellowship. He is also a two time Tribeca All Access Winner for his stage play You Dead Yet? and his screenplay Glory Masters (which also won the 2006 Columbia Screenplay contest). When not writing, Akin Salawu is a professional film and video editor and avid grassroots organizer.


Alladin Ullah

Alladin Ullah comes to the Emerging Writers Group after authoring and performing his one man show Indio, about his father’s departure from Bangladesh during the 1940’s in pursuit of the American Dream to an awkward arrival in Spanish Harlem. As a first time playwright, Ullah debuted Indio at the New Work Now! festival at The Public Theater. Additionally, Ullah wrote, The Halal Brothers which debuted at the Lark Theater. The Halal Brothers is a provocative story about two Bengali storeowners in Harlem at a crossroads in their sibling rivalry while battling their Islamic faith amidst the day of Malcolm X’s assassination. Ullah has also developed shows for television – Showtime, Nickelodeon, and Imaginasian Network. He is a recipient of the Paul Robeson development grant.


Pia Wilson

Pia Wilson’s Tree of Life was presented in a workshop production at The Red Room Theater in New York, and her short one-act Dressed In Your Dreams was a part of the Stagecrafter’s “New Works Play Festival” in Royal Oaks, Michigan. Her play Do You Proud was a part of The Eclectic Theater Company’s “Got a Minute?” play festival in Sarasota, Florida; while her play Whatever and Delicately was part of Groove Mama Ink’s “Wonder Women Week II” play festival in New York. In 2003, Pia’s short story “Dressed In Your Dreams” was published by The Summerset Review. The following year, a short film she penned, Blinding Goldfish, debuted at the New Zealand Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It was also shown at the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Trenton Film Festival in New Jersey.


# # # #


THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Mara Manus, Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 as the Shakespeare Workshop and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, productions of Shakespeare, and other classics at its headquarters on Lafayette Street and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through its extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 40 Tony Awards, 141 Obies, 39 Drama Desk Awards and 4 Pulitzer Prizes.


# # #

Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of The Public Writers Initiative, a program of

the LuEsther Lab for New Play Development.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for

The Public’s year-round activities.

Bank of America is the Lead Sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park.

Major support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The New York State Music Fund, The Booth Ferris Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Susan Stein Shiva Foundation, The George T. Delacorte Fund at the New York Community Trust—Fund for Performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and by Warren Spector and Margaret Whitton. Pepsi is the official beverage sponsor of The Public Theater.

Additional generous support is provided by Debra and Leon Black, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Starr Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Titan Worldwide, and The New York Times. Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency.

Cultural Partners include WNYC and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

Pickle Press is the official printer, and Continental Airlines is the official airline of

The Public Theater.


One response

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Wow! Congratulations!

    I saw something about this in the World-Herald today and on the Shelterbelt site, and I was impressed by the fact you were selected from so many applicants, but as I’ve read even more here on your blog about the history of the organization and the names associated with the Public Theatre, I’m even more amazed about what a HUGE deal this is–and how many great opportunities this could create for you.

    Break a leg!

    (Um, I guess that really doesn’t apply to playwrights, but you know what I mean.)

    –Jay Huse, Omaha

    (Signed anonymously because I blog so rarely that I keep forgetting my password and identity.)