Sybil Rosen - Writer

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I have always written. At five, I was pecking out poems and stories on an Underwood typewriter in my father's basement workshop. A tale about an Indian princess who runs away from her village contained the notable line, "Her absence was missed by everyone."

After graduating as a theater major from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1972, I hit the road for five years, acting in dinner theater, summer stock, student films, and on the stage in Chicago. This itinerant period included a 1977 nomination for Chicago's Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as an eight-month stint in a wall-less tree house in West Georgia with the man who would become Texas music legend Blaze Foley. His memory continues to inspire me.

Arriving in New York City at the age of twenty-nine, acting led almost immediately to playwriting, an experience I can only describe as "coming home." Since then I've written numerous plays, screenplays, narration for documentary films, two musicals about menopause (though at sixty-four I know now it's nothing to sing about), a daytime soap opera, a novel and short story for young readers, a memoir, poetry and essays about nature, as well as theater reviews and assorted human interest pieces for various magazines and newspapers. My plays have been produced in New York City and upstate New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, New Jersey, and also at Harvard University, and Hampshire College. A ten-minute play, Duet for Bear and Dog, has had more than a hundred productions in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia, and one request to turn it into an opera. Riding the Dog, my first collection of  nine short stories, all take place on a Greyhound bus!  These stories took shape as I crossed the country by bus, searching for memories of Blaze Foley.  They are a glimpse into an often-invisible America, stories of the homeless and the restless.

Since the 1999 publication of Speed of Light, I've gotten to go into classrooms around the country, talking to kids from kindergarden to high school about the joys and perils of a writing life. Answering questions like, "Where do characters come from?" "How do you know when a story is finished?" and "What do you like to color with?" Definitely the best part of my job.

Honors include: