Busy with the August Wilson Journal


I’ve been super busy with the August Wilson Journal, which has kept me away from the blog.  The good news is that we continue to publish material related to Mr. Wilson’s life and work, which makes all of us involved pretty happy.

Mural 5 cropped avatar

I’m in the process of putting together an editorial statement related to various newsworthy points on Mr. Wilson so visit the journal website to see what’s happening there.  And if you are not a subscriber, please set up an account.  It’s free and we do not exploit personal information in any way (Pitt is the publisher they are quite specific about this).

Notices of publication are sent automatically to all subscribers.

I’m also seeing some potential to promote scholarship in the AWJ on ResearchGate, so I’m going to add a link below and see how it works, going forward.

August Wilson Journal on ResearchGate

Hope you’re all well and staying safe.

Michael Downing

‘Giving Voice’ Keeps Wilson’s Memory Alive

By Michael Downing

August Wilson Monologue Competition, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Mar 2019
Daniel Velez, Mylah Eaton, and Dejean Deterville, winners, Los Angeles August Wilson Monologue Competition

Ryan Miller/Shutterstock

An article written by Tambay Obenson of IndieWire covers the upcoming release of the Giving Voice documentary, which follows the lives of six students who participate in the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition.

“Participating students perform a two- to three-minute monologue from any of the plays in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, in front of a panel of judges, comprised of local theater professionals.”

The link to the article is here.

‘Giving Voice’ Focuses on August Wilson Monologue Competition

By Michael Downing

According to an article written by Dominic Patten of Deadline.com,

2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition | Huntington Theatre

Giving Voice, a film that “focuses on six young actors as they aim to beat thousands of high school students from across the nation to win the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York City, makes its debut on January 26, 2020 at Park City’s Egyptian Theater (Utah).

Patten: “Wilson was the author of the Tony Award and Pulitzer winning Fences and nine other works in what is known as his Pittsburgh Cycle.”

Link to article

August Wilson Journal Seeking New Editor

August Wilson Journal

Request for Proposals: Editor-in-Chief and Host Institution for August Wilson Journal

The August Wilson Journal is soliciting proposals for the editorship of the August Wilson Journal for a three-year renewable commitment.  The first issue for the new editor will be June 2021, but the appointed editor should be available to work with the current editor in 2020.

The new editor should have thorough knowledge of August Wilson and (preferably) be a tenured faculty member who is conversant with the world of academic publishing.  A successful proposal must demonstrate both the prospective editor’s credentials and the host institution’s support for publishing the journal.  Contact current editor Dr. Michael Downing (downing@kutztown.edu) for more information.




Posted by Michael Downing
Original press release

The August Wilson Society 2020 Biennial Colloquium:


August Wilson on the Margins—Understudied and Underrepresented; August Wilson African American Cultural Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222; March 12 – 15, 2020.

Since its founding in Spring 2006, the August Wilson Society (AWS) has steadily pushed to increase awareness of August Wilson and to expand the conversation surrounding his important contributions to both the African-American literary tradition and cultural discourse at large.  Arguably, Wilson lived his own life on the margins and formulated an aesthetic of resistance that pushes back against stereotypes and that valorizes once victimized depictions of African Americans.

… And yet, despite impressive advances in August Wilson Studies, so much of Wilson’s life, work, and legacy remain on the margins—understudied and underrepresented.  Organizers of the August Wilson Society’s 2020 Colloquium, August Wilson on the Margins—Understudied and Underrepresented, seek to remedy this and, in t

he processpush August Wilson Studies into unchartered areas that, thus far, have been either treated tangentially or completely neglected. AWS invites proposals for panels, roundtables, individual papers, workshops, and other presentations that focus upon topics currently considered to be “on the margins.”

August Wilson on the Margins—Understudied and Underrepresented will build upon previous AWS national gatherings and explore an even wider range of voices and topics from artists, grade school educators, high school students, community leaders, activists, and academics. Directors, actors, dramaturgs, historians, educators, scholars, politicians, and poets are especially welcomed!


Interested participants might consider the following suggested list of topics—or some modification thereof: Wilson  as (Political) Activist; Wilson on Religion; Wilson and the Blues; Dramaturgs, Dramaturgy, and Dramaturging Wilson’s Drama; Designing and Tech(ing) Wilson: Lighting, Scenic, Costume, Projections, Etc. ; Wilson around the World: Diaspora, Transnationalism, and Globalization; Wilson and Feminism/Womanism; Queer, Quare, and Querying Wilson’s Oeuvre; Integrating Wilson into High School Curricula; Wilson and/as Critical Black Pedagogy; Wilson’s Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Relationships; Wilson and (African-American) Foodways; Young Actors and Wilson; Wilson’s Relationship to Visual/Fine Arts; Wilson and His Insights into Cultures across Geographic Spaces; Wilson as Literary Forebear; How I Learned What I Learned: August Wilson and the Power of Art. Explorations outside of these topics are also welcomed.

Potential participants must submit a 250- to 500-word proposal detailing how the planned project engages with the colloquium theme, as well as a brief biographical statement (no more than three sentences in length) for each participant.

Proposals should be sent to @augustwilson2020@gmail.com under the heading “colloquium submission”

Inquiries should be address to Khalid Y. Long, AWS Vice President and Colloquium Chair.

Deadline for Proposals:September 16, 2019

Notifications for Accepted Proposals:No later than October 29, 2019

Constanza Romero to Attend Upcoming August Wilson Society Event

By Michael Downing
(from press releases)

The August Wilson Society has received confirmation that Constanza Romero, August Wilson’s widow, will stop by Howard University on September 19 to offer remarks at the August Wilson Society’s VIP Reception and Fundraiser in support of the August Wilson Society and the launch of the August Wilson’s Ground Lecture Series.

To register for “Cornbread, Biscuits, and Coca-Cola: Foods and Food Practices in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle Plays,” click here.

Constanza Romero has served as the literary executor of the estate of August Wilson since 2005. Countless works by the late playwright have been produced nationally and abroad under Romero’s guidance.

As a producer, Romero helmed the Manhattan Theater Club’s Broadway production of JITNEY, in 2017, and Broadway’s FENCES, in 2010. Both won Tony Awards for Best Revival. With the release of Wilson’s FENCES as a major motion picture in 2017, Romero served as a key participant speaker with the film’s promotional screening tour and facilitated conversations about Mr Wilson with stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.

Ms. Romero’s costume for the character Aunt Ester in GEM OF THE OCEAN can be viewed along with other Wilson memorabilia at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In another important step toward building and protecting August Wilson’s literary legacy, Romero has finished collecting the materials for August Wilson’s archives for future residence in a research library.

As a costume designer, Ms. Romero’s Broadway credits include THE MOUNTAIN TOP, FENCES (Tony Nomination), GEM OF THE OCEAN (Tony Nomination), SEVEN GUITARS, and THE PIANO LESSON.

She resides in Seattle with her daughter Azula Romero Wilson, finding time to practice her other passion, creating poster art for theaters and other non-profit organizations.

August Wilson Society
2400 6th St NW
WashingtonDC 20059-0001

Undergraduate Student Emerging Scholars Panel: August Wilson Society 2020 Colloquium 

By Michael Downing
(from press releases)

CALL FOR PAPERS: cropped-august-wilson-society-logo-jan-2017-1.jpg

Undergraduate Student Emerging Scholars Panel:
August Wilson Society 2020 Colloquium 

August Wilson on the Margins—Understudied and Underrepresented
August Wilson African American Cultural Center
980 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
March 12 – 15, 2020

Submissions Due: November 1, 2019
Notification for Accepted Submissions: December 1, 2019 

The August Wilson Society (AWS) seeks essay submissions for its 2020 Biennial Colloquium Undergraduate Student Emerging Scholars Panel. Papers may consider any topic related to August Wilson studies.

A total of three submissions will be selected for the panel. Each panelist will have fifteen minutes to deliver their paper. Additionally, papers will receive critical feedback during the session from a select panel of scholars. Submissions are welcome from anyone currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.

The highest quality papers will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Quality of writing
  3. Quality of research
  4. Critical and/or theoretical approach

Submissions should be 7-8 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 pt., Times New Roman font. Please use either Chicago or MLA style citations.

All submissions must include your name, paper title, school affiliation, and contact information (telephone number and email address).

E-mail your completed essay submission as an MSWord attachment to augustwilson2020@gmail.com.Please type “AWS Undergraduate Panel BTA Emerging Scholars Panel” in the subject heading.

Pedro Alvarado & Chelsea Adams
August Wilson Society Undergraduate Colloquium Coordinators