Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Shay Youngblood

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Staten Island, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1990

Shay Youngblood is a novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. She was born in Columbus, Georgia. In addition to writing, Youngblood has worked as a public information assistant for WPBA in Atlanta and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Dominica.

Many elements of Shay Youngblood's life are reflected in her fiction. Like many of her heroines, Youngblood herself was an orphan at an early age. Her mother died when she about two years old, and she was raised by a community family: grandfathers, uncles and many women with similarities to those described her books and plays.

Youngblood was one of the first people in her family to attend college. While earning her bachelor's degree in mass communication at Clark-Atlanta University, she participated in a service project in Haiti. Her work in Haiti heightened her awareness of the injustice suffered by poor people in many places around the world. Immediately after graduating she joined the Peace Corps. In 1993, Shay earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing form Brown University.

Youngblood is recognized as a poet, playwright, fiction writer, and has also written, produced, and directed two short videos. She is best known for her three texts, The Big Mama Stories, Soul Kiss and her most recent novel, Black Girl in Paris.

Her fiction, articles and essays have been published in Oprah magazine, Good Housekeeping, BlackBook and Essence magazines, among many other publications. Her plays - Amazing Grace, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery and Talking Bones - have been widely produced. Other plays by Youngblood include Black Power Barbie and Communism Killed My Dog. She also completed a radio play, Explain Me the Blues, for WBGO Public Radio's Jazz Play Series.

Youngblood has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Pushcart Prize for her short story, "Born With Religion." She has also received the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Astaea Writes' Award for Fiction, a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts Sustained Achievement Award, an Edward Albee honoree, and several NAACP Theater Awards.



Shay Youngblood worked in the Sorosis studio.

Sorosis Studio was funded by the New York Carol Club of Sorosis. The small, masonry studio was designed by F. Winsor, Jr., the architect who also designed Savidge Library (1926) and Mixter Studio (1927). At the time of construction, the large porch on the southeast façade offered a spectacular mountain view that has since been obscured…

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