Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta-based writer whose plays include “Pointing at the Moon,” “What I Learned in Paris,” “Flyin’ West,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” and “Bourbon at the Border,” commissioned and directed by Kenny Leon at the Alliance Theatre. She is also the author of “A Song for Coretta,” written in 2007 during Cleage’s time as Cosby Professor in Women’s Studies at Spelman College. Her play “The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Prescence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years” was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and premiered in 2010, in a joint production by the ASF and Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, directed by Susan Booth. Her plays have also been performed at Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Huntington Theatre, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Long Wharf Theatre, Just US Theatre, True Colors Theatre, Bushfire Theatre, the Intiman Theatre, St. Louis Black Repertory Company, and 7 Stages.
She is also an accomplished performance artist, often working in collaboration with her husband, writer Zaron W. Burnett, Jr. They have performed at the National Black Arts Festival, the National Black Theatre Festival, and colleges and universities across the country. Cleage and Burnett also collaborated with performance artists Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones on the script for “The Love Project,” which premiered at the National Black Theatre Festival in 2008, and is currently touring the country.

Cleage is also an accomplished novelist. Her novels include “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day,” a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club selection, “I Wish I Had a Red Dress,” “Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do,” “Babylon Sisters,” “Baby Brother’s Blues,” “Seen It All and Done the Rest,” and “Till You Hear from Me.” She is also the author of “Mad at Miles: A Blackwoman’s Guide to Truth,” a groundbreaking work of race and gender, and “We Speak Your Names,” a praise poem commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for her 2005 celebration of legendary African American women and written in collaboration with Zaron Burnett.

Cleage has also written for magazines, including “Essence,” “Vibe,” “Rap Pages,” and “Ms.” In addition to her work as the founding editor of “Catalyst” magazine, a literary journal, she was a regular columnist for the Atlanta Tribune for ten years, winning many awards for her thought-provoking columns. She has also written for Cleage has been awarded grants in support of her work from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulton County Arts Council, the Georgia Council on the Arts, the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and the Coca-Cola Foundation. Her work has earned her many awards and honors, including an NAACP Image Award for fiction in 2008.

Pearl Cleage is represented by Ron Gwiazda at Abrams Artists Agency in New York City. Her website is She also maintains a Facebook fan page.

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