Edited Volume on Tarell Alvin McCraney - Call for Papers

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Sharrell D. Luckett, David Roman, and Isaiah Wooden

Call for Papers




Anticipated Publication Date:

Fall 2018


Since his arrival onto the international theater scene in 2007, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has distinguished himself as one of the most sophisticated commentators on the existential and sociocultural conditions of contemporary black life. He has also emerged as one of the most critically lauded and awarded artists of his generation, receiving a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation (2013), prestigious honors from the Whiting Foundation (2007), the New York Times (2009), and the American Theatre Critics Association (2011), as well as an Oscar Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2017), among other accolades.


Much of McCraney’s success derives from his evocative renderings of what he often refers to as "the other America: the America that doesn’t always get depicted in the cinema; the America that we are told to pretend isn’t there." Drawing on various influences—among them, Yoruba cosmology, black music, bayou cultures, Shakespeare, Alvin Ailey, Peter Brooks, Federico Garcia Lorca, Reinaldo Arenas, Essex Hemphill, and August Wilson—and engaging a range of expressive forms—poetry, song, dance, ritual, and storytelling—McCraney's artistic output reflects a commitment to re-presenting overlooked lives and stories while dramatizing the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and geography.


Formally inventive and dramaturgically complex, McCraney's still-growing body of work, which includes the acclaimed trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays (In The Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size, and Marcus;or the Secret of Sweet), Choir Boy, Head of Passes, Wig Out!, and American Trade, invites rigorous scholarly engagement and examination. Accordingly, we are soliciting essays for an edited volume that aims to expand and enrich the critical conversation on McCraney's artistic contributions (plays, adaptations, films, directing, etc.).


We especially welcome submissions that:


  • Give attention to the ways one or more of McCraney's plays flout theatrical convention and/or synergize form and content
  • Explore how McCraney's body of work represents and/or comments on the existential and sociocultural conditions of black life in the twenty-first century
  • Examine the ways McCraney interrogates race, gender, class, sexuality, and/or other vectors of identity in his dramaturgy
  • Closely read the film Moonlight and place it in conversation with McCraney’s oeuvre
  • Meditate on the centrality of the environment in McCraney's work
  • Investigate the ways spirituality circulates as a trope in McCraney's dramaturgy
  • Offer comparative analyses of McCraney's work and the work of other artists, particularly those the playwright cites as influences
  • Reflect on the pedagogical imperatives and interventions in McCraney's work
  • Identify and explicate “McCraney-isms”
  • Engage McCraney’s work as an adaptor and/or director


The volume will be edited by Sharrell D. Luckett (Muhlenberg College), David Roman (University of Southern California), and Isaiah M. Wooden (American University) and, in addition to critical essays written for a broad audience, will feature several interviews and a chronology. Publisher TBD.


Abstract (300-500 words), short bio, & c.v. - Due: August 1, 2017

Final essays of 4500-5000 words - Due: December 1, 2017

Please send all submissions and inquiries to mccraneyanthology@gmail.com.