Sybil Rosen - Writer
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
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.
- Speed of Light Excerpt (pp. 96-7) The Posen
Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, Volume 11, Yale
University Press 2011.
- Finalist in the 2000 National Ten-Minute Play Contest
(Last of the Speckled Catfish)
- The 1999 Sydney Taylor Award for Older Readers and a
nomination for the 2000 Mark Twain Award (for Speed of
- A 1990 Emmy for Best Writing in a Daytime Serial
- A 1989 Fellowship in Playwriting/Screenwriting from the
New York State Council on the Arts (for Yellow
- The 1988 Berrilla Kerr Playwriting Award
- Selection for the 1986 Sundance Playwriting Institute
(Brink of Devotion)
- Nomination for a 1982 Academy Award in the Short
Documentary category (Americas in Transition)
- Playwright-in-residencies at the Lone Wolf Arts
Institute in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, and Smith College in