Emory Report

April 5, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 26

M. Butterfly playwright Hwang to appear here April 12

Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang will talk about his work as a playwright and screenwriter April 12 at Emory's English department and creative writing program Awards Night. In addition to Hwang's remarks, Emory students will be presented with the Artistine Mann Awards for poetry, fiction, drama and creative non-fiction and the Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize. The reading and awards presentation will be followed by a reception and booksigning.

Hwang received the 1989 Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his play M. Butterfly, based on the true story of a French diplomat and his Chinese lover who turned out to be not only a spy but a man. An Asian-American born in Los Angeles, Hwang enjoyed great success from the beginning of his career, starting with his first play, F.O.B., which won a 1981 Obie Award for best new play.

While Hwang does not deal exclusively with Asian themes, they are the basis for his most successful works. He told The New York Times early in his career: "I was born here and grew up here and my influences, the vast majority of them, are American. But what I was given as a child was the stories of the old country that I used to hear from my parents and grandparents-that's something very subjective, filtered through the perceptions of these particular people."

Hwang also is the author of the play Golden Child, which made its Broadway debut last year, The Dance and the Railroad, Family Devotions, The House of Sleeping Beauties, The Sound of a Voice and Rich Relations. His one-act plays, Bondage and Trying to Find Chinatown, were produced at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 1992 and 1996, respectively.

Not restricting his writing to plays, Hwang wrote the libretto for the Philip Glass opera The Voyage, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1992, and collaborated with Glass and designer Jerome Sirlin on the musical 1000 Airplanes on the Roof. He also wrote the screenplays for Golden Gate and the film adaptation of M. Butterfly.

Hwang also will give a colloquium at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, in 207 White Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

--Deb Hammacher

Return to April 5, 1999, contents page