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People Who Led to My Plays

People Who Led to My Plays

Adrienne Kennedy

ISBN: 9781559361255

In this remarkable memoir, Adrienne Kennedy charts her life from growing up in Cleveland in the 1930s and 1940s in a middle-class black family through marriage and motherhood and her eventual move to New York City in the 1950s. Out of a sequence of deceptively spare statements emerges a complex portrait of the artist as a young woman as she examines the people and events that compelled her to be a writer.

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People Who Led to My Plays has served as a model for me in considering how one’s artistic practice is rooted and thrives in the soil of the past and how an artist uses history (with a small and a large “h”) as the raw material for one’s practice, molding and transforming and bringing it into the present. I thank you for your extraordinary work in unpacking black life on the stage and showing us how truly rich and strange it is.” —Glenn Ligon 

“I have been reading and teaching People Who Led to My Plays since its first publication in 1987. At once collage, diary, memoir and annotated scrapbook, it felt miraculous then and still does. With fearless imagination and formal daring, Adrienne Kennedy has given us A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman and an American literary classic.” —Margo Jefferson

“Adrienne Kennedy has introduced a new form of black autobiography, one that, like her plays, will be widely imitated. Like most great artists in whose work different cultures and styles converge, she is unique.” —Ishmael Reed

“Adrienne Kennedy gives us an intimate glimpse into her brilliant mind and multivalent influences as she pioneers a new kind of biography, illuminating and embodying the idea of creativity as a collaborative process.  She reminds us that art, even when created by an individual, is inextricably connected to our social, cultural and family experiences--from the transformative to the mundane.” —Thelma Golden

“Just as her brilliant plays changed what was possible on the stage, Adrienne Kennedy’s autobiography transformed the form. Written with a poet’s insight and a dramatist’s sense of form, Kennedy’s autobiography is a classic—one that not only illuminates her singular work, but the world and politics that made her.” —Hilton Als
Adrienne Kennedy

Adrienne Kennedy

Adrienne Kennedy continues to influence the world through her art. She was the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lila Wallace—Reader's Digest Writers' Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Literature Award. She was also granted a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing, awarded ... view full profile

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