Shay Youngblood is an Atlanta based writer, visual artist, and educator. Author of several novels including Soul Kiss and Black Girl in Paris, collections of short stories and numerous essays, her published plays including Shaking the Mess Out of Misery, have been widely produced and her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. Mama’s Home and Family Prayer, illustrated children’s books are forthcoming from Random House. Honors include a Pushcart Prize for fiction, NAACP award for her plays, and a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her current projects include Square Blues, a stage play about art and activism, Boss Ladies and Tender-Hearted Girls, a commissioned play about Southern Black women, Tent Cities, an environmental fable, and an interdisciplinary performance work about architecture, memory and the environment inspired by research in Japan, China and the U.S. Youngblood was appointed as a Commissioner to the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission, serves on the board of Yaddo artist residency and teaches graduate creative writing workshops at City College, NY.
Read an essay by Daniel Alexander Jones on theater collaboration with Shay Youngblood and Sharon Bridgforth.
Read This is Shay Youngblood: Her Eyes Have Seen and the Seeing Continues to Soar, a biographical essay.
Read Shay's interview with the Dallas Observer's 100 Dallas Creatives: No. 1.
Novels Riverhead Books/Penguin PutnamBlack Girl in Paris
Graphic NovelsLuna: My Sister’s Keeper
Black Power Barbie
Artists BooksOne World, original artwork and text, limited bi-lingual editions
French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, English
Plays Dramatic Publishing CompanyShaking the Mess Out of Misery
Children’s BooksMama’s Home (Random House/Make Me a World, 2022)
A Family Prayer (Random House/Convergent, 2023)
Articles, Short Stories, EssaysPublished and anthologized in Oprah Magazine, Black Issues Book Review, Black Renaissance Noir, Good Housekeeping, Black Book Magazine, Essence Magazine, among others
Produced PlaysSpecial Delivery, Radio Play
Shaking the Mess Out of Misery, two act
Amazing Grace, adaptation, full length children’s play
Talking Bones, two act
Square Blues, two act
Black Power Barbie, two act
Widows of America, Denton County, two act (series)
Communism Killed My Dog, one act
Tent Cities: An Environmental Fantastical, one act (series)
Boss Ladies and Tender-Hearted Girls: A Manual for Renewal & Resistance, two act
EducationBrown University, Providence, RI
Teaching2021-22 Faculty, City College New York: Graduate Creative Writing Workshop
Visiting Professor - Writer in Residence – Workshop Facilitator: American University, Brown University, Boston College, Bronx Community College, School of the Arts Institute of Chicago, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Emory University, New York University, Spelman College, University of Minnesota, University of Mississippi and others; Elementary and High Schools; National and International conferences (Sweden, France and Spain); Museums, Senior Centers, Public Libraries and Art Programs.
Fellowships & Awards - selectedWomen’s International Study Center, Writing Fellowship, Santa Fe, NM
US/Japan Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
New York Foundation for the Arts, Sustained Achievement Award
John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence, Teaching Fellowship, University of Mississippi, Oxford Mississippi
Astraea Award for Fiction
Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award
NAACP Theater Awards
Artist ResidenciesIndigo Arts Alliance, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Moulin a Nef (Auvillar, France) Karolyi Foundation (Vence, France), Women’s International Study Center, Blue Mountain Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Hambidge Center for the Arts
Artist Selected International Experience2018 International Artists Exchange, Jilin, China
2011-12 Japan-U.S. Creative Artist Exchange, Residency, Tokyo, Japan
2007-08 English Language Teacher, Madrid, Spain
2006 Conference Presenter, Sodertorn University, Stockholm, Sweden
1986-87 English Language Teacher, Au Pair & Poet’s Helper, Paris, France
1981-83 U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Dominica, Eastern Caribbean Department of Agriculture, Communication Officer
1980 Haitian/American Institute, Port Au Prince, Haiti French language & culture student, summer
OrganizationsYaddo Artists’ Community, Board Member
Japan U.S. Friendship Commission, Commissioner
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
My interdisciplinary art practice includes writing, painting, object making, sound art and video. Among my creative goals are collaborations with a composer on an opera, film and tv writers in a writing room and to develop a work for the theater that integrates video animation.
As a teacher my classes and workshops reflect my interest in a range of literary genres. Teaching provides the ideal opportunity for me to combine my dedication to my art practice with my commitment to encouraging students to develop skills such as critical thinking, active learning, and enthusiasm for language and storytelling.
My interest in architecture has been fueled by my travels. I have a particular weakness for shoes and my guilty pleasures are spa vacations and 72 hour reading orgies. I love to dance, learn new languages, create culinary art and have been known to practice yoga and meditation. An adventurous risk taker, I will try almost any cuisine or any activity once, more if I like it.