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“it's magic if you believe it
a trick if you don't”

– Doc Honeygreen,       
Queen of Sheba        

  

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Bill Harris

Playwright, poet, critic and novelist, Bill Harris, is a Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit. He was formerly Production Coordinator for Jazzmobile, and the New Federal Theatre, both in New York. His plays have had more than seventy productions nationwide.

Published plays include: Stories About the Old Days, Riffs and Coda. Anthologies containing his work include The National Black Drama Anthology: New Plays for the Black Theatre ( Every Goodbye Ainít Gone), Voices of Color: 50 Scenes and Monologues by African American Playwrights (scene from Coda), both edited by Woodie King, Jr., and African American Literature (He Who Endures), edited by Al Young.

Stories About the Old Day, which starred jazz singer Abbey Lincoln, and Every Goodbye Ainít Gone, with Denzel Washington and S. Epatha Merkerson as its leads, premiered at the New Federal Theatre in New York. Queen of Sheba, and BOO! A Musical Fantasy, had their debuts at the St. Louis Black Repertory Company.

An excerpt from Coda, a full length drama with music, which was written with the assistance of a Guggenheim Foundation Award, was presented on Bravo, the Canadian cable network. Another play, Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil, aired on the Public Broadcasting System in a half hour version. It was awarded the 1997 Silver Medal for Drama by the International Radio Programming Festival.

Harris has had two books of poetry published: The Ringmasterís Array, poems honoring visual and musical artists, and Yardbird Suite: Side One, a collection about the life of jazz musician Charlie Parker, which won the 1997 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.

He is currently working on several plays, a book length poem on minstrels and two novels, one set in 1954 and the other in 1854.

 

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