Author Archives: Shay Youngblood

About Shay Youngblood

Shay Youngblood is the author of novels, plays, essays and poetry. Her work has appeared in Oprah, Essence, Black Book and Good Housekeeping Magazines. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Pushcart Prize for fiction, a Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, several NAACP Theater Awards, and a New York Foundation for the Arts, Sustained Achievement Award. Her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR's Selected Shorts. Ms. Youngblood received her MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University. She has worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in the eastern Caribbean, as an au pair, artist's model, and poet's helper in Paris, and as a creative writing instructor in a Rhode Island women's prison. She was a Japan U.S. Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellow (2011) and Dallas Museum of Art, Writer in Residence (2013).

LATE BREAKING NEWS: 2020 Tried to Kill Me I’m Still Here

In the most challenging two years of my life (2018-2020), I moved 5 times (twice during the pandemic) experienced heartbreak, loss, health issues, etc. During the pandemic I have had the opportunity to spend quality time with myself asking:

Who am I in this moment now?

 How do I choose to live?

How do I choose to love?

How will I move forward to create a sustainable life for myself and contribute my skills to my community?  

We live in a new world. Our lives have changed dramatically from the pandemic and righteous protests against police brutality, a devastating economic downturn and political chaos. Zoom is a verb and we are both burnt out and able to extend our reach world because of it.

Grateful to 2020 for these highlights

  • My new home in Atlanta is SANCTUARY, KITCHEN LAB and CREATIVE STUDIO
  • Made deeper connections with my TRIBE of women friends, my blood and chosen family and made new friends
  • Emory University’s Rose Library acquired a portion of my personal and professional ARCHIVES
  • Published a graphic novel about a black female superhero/sex educator
  • Sold two illustrated children’s books to Chris Myers at Make Me A World and, Porsha Burke at Convergent (RANDOM HOUSE imprints)
  • My novel Black Girl in Paris was optioned for film/tv by Natalie Baszile the author of the novel Queen Sugar
  • In a creative learning/ experimenting spree, I made a series of drawings about the meaning of HOME during the pandemic, took ukulele and piano lessons, a manifesto writing workshop, weight training and yoga classes and streamed hours of classic opera from the MET and podcasts on subjects ranging from the esoteric to the erotic. I also cooked the most amazing meals and invented recipes.
  • Celebrated Georgia turning BLUE, thank you Stacey Abrams & Fair Fight Action, and the election of Biden and Harris
  • Velina Hasu posted a lovely interview with me on her blog highlighting Women Theater Artists https://matchabook.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/this-is-shay-youngblood-her-eyes-have-seen-and-the-seeing-continues-to-soar/

2021 is all about FOCUS and RADICAL SELF-LOVE

 New Events and Adventures in 2021

  • Launch of Youngblood Arts Second Sunday Genre Bending Literary Fitness writing workshops in MARCH!
  • Excited to teach writing workshops for VONA Feb 27-28 and July 2021
  • Artist Residency with Indigo Arts Alliance (Portland, Maine) TBA

SELECTED READING LIST

Black Futures, edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham

Accra Noir, edited by Nana-Ama Danquah

The View From Breast Pocket Mountain, Karen Hill Anton

What’s Your Story, Rebecca Walker and Lily Diamond

African Look Book, Catherine McKinley

Everything Inside, Edwidge Danticat

Rise, Marcus Samuelson

Resist, Veronica Chambers

ARTISTS on my RADAR

Robert Pruitt, Deborah Roberts, Carolyn Miller

*Please support Black and Independent Bookstores and BIPOC artists

DENTON BLACK FILM FESTIVAL: Community Action

image1Shay Youngblood with David Herman in the “green room”

The Denton Black Film Festival was a good time, reflective, informative, celebratory and sobering. The sold out screening of I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO was an action that inspired me to return to a writing project with urgency. Christopher Blay’s exhibition KWTXR was moving and captured this moment now. The Women in Entertainment panel was illuminating and lots of new connections were made. The films and events were rich with testimony, strategy and respite in these challenging times. Thanks to Linda and Harry Eaddy and the DBFF Crew. Community Action at work!

Broken Beautiful

“When you uncover my body there will be a name for every heartbreak inked into my skin.  Anyone who sees me naked will know it’s not just my body that’s vulnerable. I can still feel the buzz of a thousand needles.

Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. My mother gave me mine. Raise the cuff of my left shirt-sleeve three and a quarter inches and you will see, tattooed on my inner wrist, a long narrow instrument for scooping marrow from the bones of slow cooked meat dishes like osso bucco and oxtail stew.”    Shay Youngblood from Broken Beautiful

 

art Marrow scoop

 

Japan Project Page & Hiroshi Sugimoto in DC

Traveled to DC for the U.S. Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange. Keynote speaker Hiroshi Sugimoto shared his art, architecture and passions along with others who spoke about programs and projects leading up to the Olympics in Kyoto in 2020. The shinto shrine Sugimoto san designed on Naoshima changed me.

See my Japan Project page at www.shayyoungblood.com

Art Installation in Japan

Art Installation in Japan

Japan Performance Project

JPP Invite 4 August 2015The Indiegogo campaign to support the technical production of Add Architecture, Stir Memory was a success! Over 130 people attended the performance at the UNT on the Square Gallery on a hot Tuesday night in Texas. Looking to continue development of the work in other venues in the region and ultimately take it to Japan. Thank you to everyone who supported the work. A soft cover edition of the manuscript from the performance is now available online. Eternal gratitude.

Add Architecture, Stir Memory: A Workshop Production

add architecture adrienne brown image

Add Architecture, Stir Memory: TX – JAPAN

A Workshop Production by Shay Youngblood

with special guests kt shorb and Lyndon Gill

Saturday, 28 June 2014 – 5-7pm  @ Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, Texas

Free and open to the public

What is the effect of memory on architecture? What is the effect of architecture on memory? How do our early memories of home shape who we become? I traveled from Texas to Tokyo in the spring of 2011 to ask these questions in the form of interviews with Japanese creatives, that would be the research for a novel set in Hawaii and Japan. Ten days after I arrived, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its history, which triggered a powerful tsunami and set off a nuclear disaster. In this multimedia performance I share my experience of home in Japan, my creative process and invite the audience to participate in shaping my work-in-progress.

*This workshop production is made possible with support from

ALLGO: A Texas Statewide Organization for Queer People of Color

“Impossible Landscape” artwork: Adrienne Brown