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Howard L. Craft

Howard L. Craft is a poet, playwright, and arts educator. He is a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Playwriting Fellowship and the author of several plays. The Off-Off Broadway Production of his most recent work, Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green, was chosen as the New York Times critic’s pick during its run. Craft is also the creator of the first African-American Super Hero Radio Serial: The Jade City Pharaoh.

He teaches creative writing as the Piller Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and creative non-fiction through the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. His current projects include Orange Light and One Down, One Up. Drawing from oral histories and court documents and combining movement, theater, and media, Orange Light explores the lives of five women who work in a chicken processing plant. It is loosely based on events surrounding the tragic fire at the Imperial Foods plant in Hamlet, NC, where 25 workers burned to death behind locked doors on September 3, 1991. One Down, One Up is a film/theater piece that explores the life of the immortal jazz pioneer John Coltrane through the story of one of his earliest biographers, O.C. Simpkins, a young African American medical student at Harvard University who interviewed those who knew Coltrane from the early 1970s jazz scene. Through a partnership with Sam Stephenson of Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials, access to the Simpkins tapes will be used in the final production. A documentary film about Mr. Simpkins and the writing of the play are also planned.