Emory Report

September 7 , 1999

 Volume 52, No. 3

Grimsley and Skibell join creative writing faculty

Award-winning fiction writers and playwrights Jim Grimsley and Joseph Skibell have joined the faculty of Emory's Creative Writing Program, boosting the program's offerings in contemporary fiction, playwriting and screenwriting.

"We were extremely fortunate in our national search for faculty last year," said Director Lynna Williams. "Skibell and Grimsley are exactly the caliber of faculty we were seeking. Their talent and experience will be an invaluable addition to the program."

Grimsley is the author of the novels My Drowning, Dream Boy, Comfort and Joy and Winter Birds. He has published a collection of plays, Mr. Universe & Other Plays, and his work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals and magazines. He currently is working on a new play and novel. Grimsley is well-known to Atlanta theater audiences as playwright-in-residence at 7 Stages Theater, where the stage adaptation of Dream Boy was produced last summer. He has had 19 plays and adaptations staged around the United States since 1983.

Among Grimsley's many awards include the 1997 Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Writers Award, a 1995 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award citation for first fiction for Winter Birds, and the 1998 Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction award for My Drowning. He is a frequent speaker on playwriting and on Southern fiction.

Skibell is the author of the award-winning novel A Blessing on the Moon, as well as short stories, articles and essays, eight plays and three screenplays. For A Blessing on the Moon Skibell received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from Texas Institute of Letters, as well as awards from Publishers Weekly and Amazon.com.

Skibell has written and spoken frequently on the topic of the Holocaust in fiction, including speaking on "Holocaust: What to Tell the Next Generation" with Deborah Lipstadt, director of Emory's Institute for Jewish Studies, at the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet in Washington in March 1998. He is completing a novel, Every Heart a Refugee, a short story collection, You're Nobody 'Til Everybody Knows You're Nobody, and a play, Jakob Cohen and the Malach HaShem. Both authors will teach playwriting, and Skibell also will teach screenwriting.

"Having these writers join the Emory faculty will have a huge impact on The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory," said Vincent Murphy, producing artistic director of Theater Emory. "When you consider Grimsley and Skibell, in combination with Frank Manley and Steve Murray, as playwrights-in-residence, and the activities of the Southeast Playwrights' Project supported by Emory, there is no institution in the Southeast that is as strong in both resident and guest writers."

Grimsley has been considered the best playwriting teacher in town for years through his work with the Southeast Playwrights' Project, according to Murphy. Coincidentally, a former collaborator of Theater Emory, Jenny Langsam with Actor's Shakespeare Company in New York, is working on a stage adaptation of Skibell's novel, A Blessing on the Moon. "Both authors fit in well with Theater Emory's tradition of literary adaptation, including Beckett and Manley," Murphy said. Theater Emory will present readings from both of the authors' works in January to celebrate their joining the faculty.

--Deb Hammacher

Return to September 7, 1999, contents page