Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk feminist poet-playwright, cultural worker, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She's the recipient of the 2019 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting/Fellowship at New Dramatists and was a 2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist. Erika is a National Arts & Culture Delegate for the U.S. Water Alliance's One Water Summit 2019. She’s the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Public Theater, a 2019 Writers' Gathering Jerusalem Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence, a 2019 New Harmony Project Writer-in-Residence, a 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and was The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellow. Erika is a 2019-2020 member of Ars Nova Play Group and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie-winning Youngblood collective. Her work has been developed at The Lark, The Public Theater, Vineyard Arts Project, New York Stage and Film, Public Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Fault Line Theatre and Jackalope Theatre. Current plays in development include: ocean's lip/ heavn's shore, took/tied, hung/split, shadow/land, and cullud wattah (2019 Kilroys List; Public Theater, 2020). In addition to this water tetralogy, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including [hieroglyph] (2019 Kilroys List) and shadow/land, focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned man-made disaster.
2019 Arts & Culture Delegate at the U.S. Water Alliance Conference
2019 Princess Grace Playwriting Award Recipient
2019 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater
2018-19 Dramatist Guild Foundation Playwriting Fellow
2018-19 Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow
2019 Relentless Award Semi-Finalist