Cynthia L. Cooper (Cindy) is a playwright, journalist and author.
Her plays have been performed in the U.S., Canada and Europe (England, Hungary, Finland, Israel, elsewhere). Her plays include 10 full-lengths, 20+ one-acts, and five plays for young people. Play publications include Heinemann, Applause, Smith-Kraus, Holt, Paper Mache Press, Brooklyn Publishers, Gihon River Press, The New Press, and others. Her plays are stylized structurally, generally mixing drama and comedy, and often reflecting directly or indirectly upon topics of social import. Cooper is a graceful and skilled writer wrote one critic. She has won playwriting awards from Nantucket Theater, Pen and Brush, Off-Broadway Short Play Festival, Malibu International Short Play Festival, many others. She was twice a Jerome Fellow and has won grants from Northwest Area Foundation, the Field, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, League of Professional Theater Women, and served for five years on the board of the Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media.
Her journalism has appeared in magazines, newspapers, websites and anthologies. She writes frequently about social justice and human rights, including many concerns of women. Among the publications in which her writing has appeared are Glamour, Ms., The Nation, Women's eNews, Tom Paine.com, National Law Journal, New York Law Journal, Marie Claire, California Bar, Equal Justice, Vote.com, On The Issues Magazine, Ford Foundation Magazine, In These Times, CorpWatch, Perspectives on Women in the Law, Mother Earth News, Poz, MAMM (on women and cancer) and many others. She has also worked on television, doing investigative and consumer journalism, and independent video productions, and has written for several nonprofit organizations, including Amnesty International USA and Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. She began her career in journalism at a weekly urban paper in Cleveland, Ohio, her hometown. She has won awards for herself or her publishers including a First Page Award, Maggie Award, APEX, Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice Award, and others. She is a member of the New York Newswomen's Association.
Her nonfiction books range from a crime investigation to consumer issues, an investigation of reasons for impeachment of the president and co-authorship of a political memoir. Her book, Mockery of Justice, a serious investigation of malfeasance in the judicial system in one case was called one of the few books to actually do something by a Washington Post writer. Other books studied homeowner issues, consumer information, law schools and poltiics. She is a member of the Authors' Guild and teaches Strategic Communications at Columbia University.
Cooper is a graduate in Urban Studies, cum laude, from Cleveland State University and has a juris doctor with distinction from Emory University School of Law. She serves on nonprofit boards and volunteers with social justice causes.
A Personal thought or two ...
changing the world with words
A Personal Thought or two ...
I don't know if it's possible to change the world with words. But I believe that it is worth giving it a try.
As a writer, I try to bring gripping stories and engaging topics to help people find a better place -- for themselves, for others.
In theatre, the audience is everything to me -- I strive to touch the audience, to enrich them with the opportunity to see things differently. With stylized realism, my plays, comic and dramatic, are about society, women, overcoming obstacles and finding transformation.
In journalism and books, I bring people the information that they need to create justice in all of our lives -- using the tools of activism, philosophy and universal human rights.
No doubt, I've been lucky. A few summers ago, I taught playwriting in the Catskills. I sent the participating writers off on an exercise, intended to show how we as writers weave our material from a collage of influences. Each writer was to prepare questions about a character-in-development and then to elicit insights into the character by interviewing one another. The writer interviewing me focused on a pre-teen character's hopes and dreams, so, she asked, what were mine? In an instant I stood in a second-floor room at Northwood Elementary School, making a promise to the tall olive-skinned Mrs. Monk, our sixth grade teacher, that I would dedicate my first novel to her. 'A writer,' I told the workshop participant. But only when I spoke the words did I savor the sentiment: I am doing the very thing that I have always wanted to do. I write plays. I write articles. I write books. I write about topics to engage and inspire audiences and readers. And the truly magical thing is that at the same time, they also inspire me.
Hell's Kitchen in New York City is my home now. But I'm close to other parts of the country, too: Cleveland, where I grew up, worked at a weekly newspaper, and graduated from Cleveland State University (following a single year at the University of Missouri in Columbia); Atlanta, where I attended Emory University School of Law, headed the women's law association, started a student newspaper and worked for a judge; Minnesota, where I worked in law and journalism at legal services, the state Supreme Court, and in television news as an investigative reporter and producer, and dove into playwriting; and San Francisco, where, in a year and a half of book-writing, I enjoyed the positive attitudes of the city environs. I've earned some degrees (urban studies, law, the beginnings of a master's in communications), and joined some associations (Author's Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, New York Newswomen's League, Playwrights Center). But it's the writing itself that takes me to the ideas and places I yearn to know, and writing that helps me learn a little more each day.
The world is imponderable sometimes. Making positive change is daunting. Writing itself is hard, at times overwhelming. But on the best days, I heed the words pulled from a fortune cookie and posted next to my desk: 'Start writing -- the answer will come to you.' Occasionally, it does.
For more biographical information, see Plays-Home:Playwriting Bio and Articles: Positions, Awards, Associations
Where I've Been...Select Appearances
Good Morning America, Dateline, CBS-TV, Today, Nightline, Inside Edition, Charles Grodin, National Public Radio-All Things Considered, MSNBC, Diane Rehm Show, Lionnell, Leonard Lopate, WNYC, Court TV, New York 1 Times Reports, Discovery special, WBAI, GoodDay New York, The Law Show, Weekend Today WNBC, WBAI 'Joy of Resistance,' Voice of America, BBC, ABC World News, NBC Real People, CNN, Real Life, New York Close-Up NY1, USA Radio Network, Strand Broadcasting, Business Radio Network, Armed Services Network, Morning Edition, Wisconsin Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, Pacifica, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Boston. Print: Dramatsits Magazine, Fund for Women Artists, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, many others.
**FOR CREATIVE TYPES: A fantastic little book for writers and artists of all sorts who need to keep going or get back on track -- "Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking" by David Bayles & Ted Orland (Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1993).
An inspiring and innovative women's choir (okay, I'm on the board)-- Melodia Women's Choir of NYC
**TO QUOTE: "I'll burn that bridge when I get to it"
-- a line from the one-act play "Alice's Tea Party" by Kara Corthron.
**ON LIFE: "Go where the light is."
Jaye Austin Williams.
For information on royalties, permissions, copies of play scripts, reprints of articles or other matters:
Cynthia L. Cooper
446 W. 47th Street No. 1B
New York, NY 10036