The Hermitage Artist Retreat: Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, Poet Camille Dungy and fiction writer Chinelo Okparanta will appear at Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret on Palm Avenue at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 9th

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce an upcoming, free community program featuring three, female, African-American writers who will read from and speak about their work, the challenges they face, and what inspires them today in our complex and sometimes irrational world. Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, Poet Camille Dungy and fiction writer Chinelo Okparanta will appear at Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret on Palm Avenue at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 9th. The Hermitage program is free but reservations are required due to limited seating. Call Sharyn Lonsdale at the Hermitage, 941-475-2098, extension 5, and leave the names of those in your party, to reserve places.

“Lately there has been a lot of conversations about the inequalities faced by women, not only in corporate America, but in the art world as well,” explained Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. “With three women artists in residence, we thought it would be interesting to have them address this topic, as well as share their award-winning work.”

Jackie Sibblies Drury is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose work has been presented around the country and in London. Her plays have had the added benefit of being developed in such places at Sundance, New York Theatre Workshop, The LARK, Bay Area Playwrights Festival and The MacDowell Colony. She received the 2012-2013 Van Lier Fellowship at New Darmatists and was the inaugural recipient of the 2012-2014 Jerome Fellowship at The LARK. She is currently a member of The Writer’s Room at Manhattan Theatre Club and Ars Nova.

Camille Dungy is an award-winning poet who has authored three books of poetry, Smith Blue, Suck on the Marrow and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She has also co-authored and edited many other collections. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Dana Award. She has twice received the Northern California Book Award, a Silver Medal Winner in the California Book Award and is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. This year she was named as one of the 10 Young American Poets Changing the Face of Poetry. Dungy is presently a professor in the English Department of Colorado State University.

Chinelo Okparanta is a fiction writer who was born and raised in Nigeria until age 10. She holds a BS from Pennsylvania State University, a MA from Rutgers University and an MFA from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She received the Oliver B. O’Connor Fellow in Fiction from Colgate University and the University of Iowa’s Provost’s Postgraduate Fellowship in Fiction. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Granta (which named her one of six new voices in 2012), Tin House, The Kenyon Review and others. Among her awards are the 2014 O. Henry Prize Award and 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Fiction. She was a finalist for the 2014 Public Young Lions Fiction Award and the 2014 Rolex Mentors and Proteges Arts Initiative.

“The Hermitage is very pleased to be able to share our accomplished and renowned artists with the community,” Program Director Patricia Caswell added. “This particular group of women writers is sure to provide an engaging and provocative insight into their work and the world in which they create.”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. All Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by the Women’s Exchange and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at

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