Quiara Alegría Hudes received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Water by the Spoonful, the second in a trilogy of plays. The first play was Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue, for which she was a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist. The final installment, The Happiest Song Plays Last, premiered this spring at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway hit musical In the Heights, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical, and was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. In its original off-Broadway incarnation, In the Heights received the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. Hudes’s previous honors include a United States Artists Fontanals Fellowship, the Aetna New Voices Fellowship at Hartford Stage Company, a Joyce Foundation Award, a residency at New Dramatists, and a resolution from the City of Philadelphia. A native of Philadelphia, Hudes sits on the Dramatists Guild Council and serves on the board of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, which produced her first play when she was in the tenth grade.
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Ethan Zuckerman served as a fellow of the Berkman Center from 2003 through 2009. Since 2009, he’s been a senior researcher at the center, focusing on the impact of technology and media on the developing world and on quantitative analysis of media. With Hal Roberts, he is working on comparative studies of tools for censorship circumvention, techniques for blocking-resistant publishing for human rights sites, and the Media Cloud framework for quantitative study of digital media.
Zuckerman and Berkman fellow Rebecca MacKinnon founded Global Voices, a global citizen media network. Beginning at a Berkman conference in 2004, Global Voices has grown into an independent Netherlands-based nonprofit with over 200 employees and volunteers in more than 100 countries. Global Voices maintains an international citizen media newsroom, tracks censorship and advocates for freedom of speech online, supports grassroots citizen media efforts, and is a pioneer in the space of social translation.
In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a nonprofit technology volunteer corps. Geekcorps pairs skilled volunteers from US and European high-tech companies with businesses in emerging nations for one- to four-month volunteer tours. Volunteers have served in fourteen nations, including Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Rwanda, Armenia, and Jordan, and have completed over a hundred projects.
Zuckerman received the 2002 Technology in Service of Humanity Award from MIT’s Technology Review magazine and was named to the TR100, the magazine’s list of innovators under the age of 35. Zuckerman was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
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Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff’s Amistad Murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history.
Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The Guy Davenport Endowed Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kentucky, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and cofounded the Affrilachian Poets. Her fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split, received the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.
The poems in Nikky Finney’s breathtaking new collection, Head Off & Split, sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from Civil Rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Her poet’s voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s final State of the Union address. Artful and intense, Finney’s poems ask us to be mindful of what we fraction, fragment, cut off, dice, dishonor, or throw away, powerfully evoking both the lawless and the sublime.
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