Southern Writers Onstage: Beyond Black and White


Actors and authors will offer dramatic readings from southern memoirs written by Cuban American Carmen Agra Deedy, Puerto Rican Latina Judith Ortiz Cofer, Chinese Americans John Jung and Eddie Huang, and Native American Craig Womack to help us explore what it means to grow up in the South blending (or straddling) two cultural heritages.

The first event, January 23, 2018, will feature Carmen Agra Deedy, master story teller and children’s book author, who came to Georgia from Cuba when she was four years old. Her ten books have garnered more than 100 awards. She will be telling stories first heard in Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia, the 1995 Publishers Weekly Best Audio (Adult Storytelling) and a 1996 Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner.

Second is Diany Rodriguez who has acted for True Colors, Aurora, Actor’s Express, Horizon, Alliance, Georgia Shakespeare, and Theatrical Outfit. Ms. Rodriquez will read on January 30, 2018, from Judith Ortiz Cofer’s memoir The Cruel Country. The reading will reveal Cofer’s cultural challenges with language, loss of home, yearning for home, adjustments to being a Latina from Puerto Rico in the South.

On February 27, 2018, Ryan Vo, who has a BFA in Acting from the University of Southern Mississippi and was a member of the 2016-2017 Actors Express Intern Company during which he played the role of Cheever in The Crucible, will read excerpts from historian John Jung’s Southern Fried Rice: Life in a Chinese Laundry in the Deep South (in Macon, Georgia) and Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat about life in Florida.

Finally, Dr. Craig Womack will present on March 6, 2018. Dr. Womack, a Muscogee Creek-Cherokee, is Associate Professor of English at Emory University and a leading figure in Native American literary studies. His Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism is widely influential; he will read from his novel Drowning in Fire.

Dr. Pearl McHaney, Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature, and a 2017 recipient of the Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities, is the organizer and humanities scholar for Southern Writers Onstage, now in its sixth year.

In 2016, Southern Writers Onstage examined Growing Up in the Jim Crow South with writings by Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Dubois, Richard Wright, and Ernest Gaines.  Last year, in 2017, Southern Writers Onstage viewed the complexities of race in the south with stories by Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, and Toni Morrison.

All performances are free and open to the public and are at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, the first LEED certified theater in the United States and Atlanta’s first restaurant to voluntarily integrate its tables, home of Theatrical Outfit, at 84 Luckie St., Atlanta, at 12 p.m. noon.

This project is supported by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly; Georgia State University Research Foundation and Department of English, and Theatrical Outfit.

For more information see PDF files below:

swo-marketing-press-release-info and swo-calendar