by Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing, Spalding University
Also Announced: Faculty Books and Scripts in Common for Spring
I am delighted to announce that Cost of Living, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is the Residency Script in Common for Spring 2023. Playwright Martyna Majok (pronounced my-oak) will visit the spring residency as our distinguished visiting writer to talk about her work.
A few years back, I had the good fortune of meeting Majok and learning more about her writing when we were both in residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat near Sarasota, Florida, and I’m happy she’s agreed to visit to discuss her work during our spring 2023 residency. I very much look forward to sharing her important play with students, faculty, and alumni of our Naslund-Mann community.
Cost of Living premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016 and appeared Off Broadway in 2018. The October 2, 2022, review of the play’s Broadway debut in The New York Times is headlined “Cost of Living Review: Worth its Weight in Gold.” In addition to the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, the play won two Lucille Lortel Awards, including Outstanding Play, and also received a Drama Desk Award and a Drama League nomination.
Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland, and raised in Jersey and Chicago. In addition to Cost of Living, she is the author of Sanctuary City, Queens, and Ironbound, which have been produced across American and international stages. Majok is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing TV and film for Plan B, Pastel, and MRC.
Majok’s many honors include The Hull-Warriner Award, The Academy of Arts and Letters’ Benjamin Hadley Danks Award for Exceptional Playwriting, Off Broadway Alliance Best New Play Award, The Lilly Award’s Stacey Mindich Prize, Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play from The Helen Hayes Awards, Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, ANPF Women’s Invitational Prize, David Calicchio Prize, Global Age Project Prize, NYTW 2050 Fellowship, NNPN Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, and Merage Foundation Fellowship for The American Dream.
Majok studied at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, University of Chicago, and Jersey public schools. She was a 2012-2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence, the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, and a 2018-2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
Spring 2023’s featured cross-genre area is Writing for TV, Screen, and Stage
As Writing for TV, Screen, and Stage is our featured genre area for residency this spring, each student and faculty member should read Cost of Living in advance of residency to prepare for our book-in-common discussion and Majok’s presentations to our community.
On May 27, the first Saturday of residency, our opening session will include a plenary discussion of Cost of Living. On Tuesday, May 30, Majok will join us to talk about her work. This presentation is a plenary for our Naslund-Mann community of students, alumni, and faculty, and we also welcome the community at large. A book-signing will follow. The next morning, Wednesday, May 31, Majok is our featured guest at a Q & A plenary session open only to Naslund-Mann students, alumni, and faculty.
In addition to discussing Majok’s work, the cross-genre presentations will include a plenary lecture on film by faculty member Bruce Marshall Romans. I will present a cross-genre plenary lecture that culminates in an assignment in adaptation; we will present student responses to that work at our follow-up at the end of residency. Students and faculty visit nearby Central Park in Louisville (a few blocks up Fourth Street), where Kentucky’s Shakespeare in the Park theater company presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and there is an on-your-own opportunity for students and faculty, if they desire, to attend a Moth StorySLAM event in Louisville.
More details about these events for spring residency, as well as other cross-genre and curriculum programming, will be forthcoming soon in my next post on residency highlights, and will include information about other guests joining us at the residency.
Faculty Books and Scripts in Common
In addition to reading our residency script in common, all students should read the Faculty Book or Script in Common in the workshop area of their Spring residency to prepare for the discussion that will take place 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET, Sunday, May 7, just after the virtual introductory workshop session with your faculty leader. Zoom meeting links for both sessions will be posted in the Thursday Memo the week before our discussions.
The Faculty Books and Scripts in Common for this spring’s residency are as follow:
Fiction: Roy Hoffman’s The Promise of the Pelican (Arcade Crimewise)
Poetry: Kathleen Driskell’s The Vine Temple (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
Creative Nonfiction: Erin Keane’s Runaway: Notes on the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing)
Writing for Children/YA: Susan Campbell Bartoletti, How Women Won the Vote (HarperCollins)
Screenwriting: Larry Brenner, Fazuza
Playwriting: Gabriel Dean, Heartland
I hope you enjoy reading and thinking about Cost of Living as well as the faculty books and scripts in common in your residency area. We’re busily planning a wonderfully enriching residency and look forward to being with you soon!
Driskell is author of the poetry chapbook The Vine Temple and full-length poetry collections Blue Etiquette: Poems; Next Door to the Dead; Seed Across Snow; and Laughing Sickness, as well as the standalone Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. Individual poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, North American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Greensboro Review, Rattle, Mid-American Review, Appalachian Review, and elsewhere. She is Chair and poetry faculty of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University.