Long Wharf Theatre to host poet Elizabeth Alexander and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at its Sunday Symposium December 15

Poet Elizabeth Alexander and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins will hold a wide ranging conversation inspired by August Wilson’s Fences as part of Long Wharf Theatre’s Sunday Symposium series.

The event will take place Sunday, December 15 after the matinee performance of August Wilson’s Fences. The performance begins at 2 pm and runs approximately two hours. The symposium is free and open to the public. The Sunday Symposium series is funded by Connecticut Humanities.

Dr. Alexander, the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies & Professor American Studies & English, was selected by President Barack Obama to compose and read a poem for his inauguration. She is the author of four books of poems, The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), and American Sublime (2005), which was one of the American Library Association’s 25 Notable Books of the Year as well as one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her collection of essays on African American literature, painting, and popular culture, The Black Interior, was published in 2004. Her verse play, “Diva Studies,” was produced at the Yale School of Drama in May 1996. Alexander has taught at the University of Chicago, where she won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, New York University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, and Smith College, where she was Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence, first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, and member of the founding editorial collective for the feminist journal Meridians. Professor Alexander is an inaugural recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.” She teaches courses on African American poetry, drama, and 20th century literature, as well as the survey introduction to African American Studies. She has Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.A. degree from Yale, and an M.A. from Boston University.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright and dramaturg. His newest play, Appropriate, premieres at the Humana Festival in March 2013, and his play Neighbors will receive its UK Premiere at the Hightide Festival in May 2013. His work has been seen at The Public Theater, PS122, Soho Rep, The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles, Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, CompanyOne in Boston, Theater Bielefeld in Bielefeld, Germany and the National Theatre in London. He is a Usual Suspect and a former New York Theatre Workshop Playwriting fellow, an alum of the Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab, the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, and Ars Nova Playgroup. His honors include a Princess Grace Award, the Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship, the Paula Vogel Award, two residencies with the Sundance Theatre Lab, and a fellowship in playwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU and is working on commissions from Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 and Yale Repertory Theater. 

Connecticut Humanities is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. These programs bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to express, share and explore ideas in thoughtful and productive ways. From local discussion groups to major exhibitions on important historical events, CTH programs engage, enlighten and educate. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org.

For more information about Fences and Long Wharf Theatre’s 2013-14 season, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.