Professor and Playwright

Published on 27 August 2015

Spades, a play written by Assistant Professor of History Eric Robinson, received second place in the Best Short Play category at the 2015 Downtown Urban Theater Festival in New York.

The one-act comedy features Robinson’s characterizations of writers Rudolph Fisher, Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, and Wallace Thurman, and is set during the Harlem Renaissance between World War I and the 1930s, when Harlem was a cultural center of African-American writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars. The play was presented at the theater festival and was directed by Patricia Floyd. 

“I was very pleased with the director’s and actors’ interpretations,” Robinson says. “I enjoyed and loved what they did. And it is gratifying to know that my work means something to someone else.”

Robinson is also the author of the novel Skip Macalester and of The Day Rider and Other Stories: A Collection. He has received three Pushcart Prize nominations and, in 2005, he received the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his essay, “Notes from a Janitor’s Closet.” Robinson has also written Mother’s Day, a one-act play presented in 2005 at the Juneteenth Jamboree of New Plays at the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre and as part of the E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Competition in 2007.

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