Playwriting Fellowship

The Emory Playwriting Fellowship is awarded biennially, bringing early career playwrights to write and teach in vibrant undergraduate programs. 

Fellows spend their two-year residency at Emory University, in Atlanta, as faculty in both the Creative Writing Program and Dept. of Theater and Dance.   Fellows are featured in the Creative Writing Speakers Series, and have opportunities for development of their work through the Playwriting Center and Theater Emory. 

2016-18 Playwriting Fellow

Jiréh Breon Holder is currently the Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theater and Creative Writing at Emory University. He is an Atlanta area playwright, director, and dramaturg. His sharp and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South. His plays have received received readings at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and the Old Globe Theatre. His play Too Heavy for Your Pocket was the 2016-17 winner of the Alliance Theatre Kendeda Award, and will receive its world premiere in February 2017.

In 2016, he received his MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama where is plays The Rules50:13, and Some Bodies Travel (co-written with Tori Sampson) received productions. He is a co-founder Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. There he directed Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies by Tearrance Chisholm, which was nominated for three Cloris Awards including best direction and best play. From 2012-13, he served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He graduated cum laude from Morehouse College (B.A. Theatre) and served as the artistic director of Spelman College Playwrights’ Workshop.  

2014-16 Playwriting Fellow

Edith Freni holds both her BFA and MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing. Her work has been produced and developed in New York and nationally at theatres

Edith was a long-time member of Youngblood and is also a member of Obie-winning Partial Comfort Productions. Her work is published by Playscripts, DPS, Smith & Krauss and Applause. She was the inaugural Emory University Playwriting Fellow from 2014-16. Edith is a three-time nominee for the prestigious PONY AWARD and a two-time finalist for the JEROMEFELLOWSHIP. Her play Total Power Exchange was nominated for the 2013 L. ARNOLD WEISSBERGER AWARD and the 2014 KILROY'S LIST. In 2014, Edith was also nominated for the HUMANITAS PRIZE and the FRANCESCA PRIMUS AWARD for her play Buena Vista.includingSTEPPENWOLF THEARE COMPANY, LABYRINTH THEATRE COMPANY, the WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL, NEW YORK THEATRE WORKSHOP, ACTOR'S EXPRESS (Atlanta), PROFILE THEATER COMPANY (Portland, OR) and NASHVILLE REPERTORY THEATRE.

Edith was a 2015-16 Ingram New Works Lab resident playwright at Nashville Repertory Theater and the recipient of a New Territories Playwriting Residency at Serenbe Playhouse in January 2016, and a fellowship at the 2016 Sewanee Writers' Conference. She was recently named the 2016-17 Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN.