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about & events

#VoteThatJawn, to bring young voters to the polls in Philadelphia in 2020, is still going strong. I help youth leaders, students, and interns, all fabulous, tell their stories. Follow us. Share. Register. Don't stop now!


It's out: the paperback edition of my memoir, Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century (also available on audiobook).  This short opera, The Gospel According to Nana, with composer Liliya Ugay, gave me a chance to write a libretto based on the mash-up of life and death and love and fear of caring for our101-year-old grandmother. Now the story will inspire my new play for Philly's Arden Theatre.

My General Tubman, my first play, enjoyed sold-out houses at the Arden, from January to COVID. Harriet Tubman time-travel, love, war, iambic pentameter...Director: James Ijames; Producing Artistic Director: Terry Nolen, and dramaturg Michele Volansky. Danielle Lénee led a gorgeous cast.

Non-fiction includes the best-selling memoir Black Ice and a collection of stories for young readers, Free! Great Escapes from Slavery on the Underground Railroad. Began writing and editing professionally for TIME, TV Guide, and Newsweek. Now, my blogs appear on Medium.com. Novels include The Price of a Child, a woman's escape from slavery, chosen as the first One Book One Philadelphia offering; Pride, my take on the girlfriend novel; and If Sons, Then Heirs: rural, Black heir property in South Carolina, love, family, and the lynching that almost destroyed it all. I've written scripts for videos at The President's House exhibit on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. 


I teach Creative Writing at UPenn. Grateful to have received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching twice, most recently in 2017.  


Founded Art Sanctuary in1998 to enrich urban Philadelphia with the excellence of Black arts, and stepped down as director in 2012. Other civic work: President of the Union Benevolent Association; and appointed to Philadelphia's School Reform Commission, as chair of the Safety Committee that eliminated zero-tolerance punishments for children.


Other honors: The Philadelphia Award, and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore, Muhlenberg, Colby, and Keene State Colleges, and Arcadia and Gwynedd Mercy Universities. 

Jane Dystel, of Dystel, Goodrich, and Bourret, has been a great literary agent and friend since before Black Ice. 

Jodi Solomon's speakers' bureau schedules my lectures: fast and friendly!

. . . More? Read and download:


 Events Online 

  • 6ABC's the Art of Aging
  • Telling Your Health Story
  • Words First Podcast
  • To Celebrate Ladysitting


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