Oscar-winning Screenwriter, Acclaimed Playwright Are Featured Speakers at Spalding MFA’s Festival of Contemporary Writing

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Spalding University’s brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program presents Academy-Award-winning screenwriter Bobby Moresco and acclaimed playwright Heather Raffo as the dual headliners for Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing. Moresco, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Crash, will be interviewed onstage at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 6, in the Gallery, 16th floor, at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. Raffo, an actress and the award-winning playwright of 9 Parts of Desire, a solo play told through the lives of nine Iraqi women, appears and performs selections from her play at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 5, in The Gallery at the Brown Hotel. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Moresco, who shared the 2006 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Crash with co-writer Paul Haggis, has written, produced, and directed more than 35 theatrical productions. Moresco’s other film projects include Million Dollar Baby, the 2005 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, which he co-produced and developed with Paul Haggis. His films Heat for Walden Media and Rule of Nines are presently in development. Moresco has several other film projects in the works.

  For television, Moresco co-created the NBC series The Black Donnellys, loosely based on characters from the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City where Moresco was born and raised. In 2006, Moresco released his directorial debut, 10th & Wolf, a coming-of-age gangster drama set in the 1980s.

            Throughout the 1990s, Moresco created, wrote, and produced television projects including Millenium, which earned him a Genesis Award; and EZ Streets, which he wrote and co-produced, and which won the “Viewers for Quality Television Award” for best program of the year.  In 1998, he co-created and executive produced the Emmy-nominated series Falcone, based on the movie Donnie Brasco.

   Described by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world,” Heather Raffo’s one-woman play 9 Parts of Desire details the lives of nine ordinary and extraordinary Iraqi women. Herself of Iraqi and American heritage, Raffo will speak of her time in Iraq and of her research with Iraqi women both in and outside of the country. Raffo will also perform some of her characters.

Born in Michigan, Heather Raffo now resides in New York. Her father is originally from Iraq and her mother is American. 9 Parts of Desire is Heather’s first work as a playwright. She trained as an actress and has spent the last eight years performing professionally off Broadway, off West End, on national tours, and in regional theater as well as in films. As the actress and playwright of 9 Parts of Desire, Heather received the 2005 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation, the Marian Seldes-Garsin Kanin Fellowship, and a 2005 Lucille Lortel award for best solo show as well as an Outer Critics Circle nomination and a Drama League nomination for outstanding performance. Raffo studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

9 Parts of Desire is a solo play told through the lives of nine radical Iraqi women. The play premiered in 2003 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. It later moved to the Bush Theatre in London, where critics hailed it one of the five best plays in London. 9 Parts has also been showcased at the Public Theater in New York City and later at the Manhattan Ensemble Theater, where it ran Off Broadway for nine sold-out months. The play is now touring the U.S. and internationally. For current production information regarding 9 Parts of Desire, please visit www.heatherraffo.com.

Moresco’s and Raffo’s appearances cap the Spalding MFA Program’s Fall 2007 Festival of Contemporary Writing, Kentucky’s largest and most prestigious spring-fall reading series. Featured authors from past festivals include W.S. Merwin, Ernest J. Gaines, Yusef Komunyakaa, Michael Ondaatje, Daniel Handler, Donna Jo Napoli, Marsha Norman, Naomi Shihab Nye, Scott Russell Sanders, Susan Vreeland, Nancy Willard, and Terry Tempest Williams.

The brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University is a four-semester program in creative writing, offering concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children, playwriting, and screenwriting. A new summer semester with residency abroad is designed to fit teachers’ schedules. For more information, see www.spalding.edu/mfa.

The Brown Hotel is located at 335 West Broadway in Louisville.

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