Author / Journalist / Dramatist / Scriptwriter, Calgary, AB. Born: Calgary, AB.
Cheryl Foggo is an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays; she has also written for TV and film. As a descendant of the migration of Black Oklahomans who settled in Amber Valley, Alberta and Maidstone, Saskatchewan in 1910, Cheryl is well known for her work uncovering the stories of Alberta’s early Black pioneers.
Books: Upcoming in 2011 and 2012: I’ll Tell You The Good Things First, a novel; Hiding Place, a collection of essays on the Black prairie experience; and Dear Baobab, This is What Happened To Me, a children’s book. Other books include, Pourin’ Down Rain, her first book and a chronicle of her ancestors’ journey from Africa, to America, to northwestern Canada (finalist, Alberta Culture Non-fiction Award, 1990); two young adult novels, One Thing That’s True and I Have Been in Danger, each received several award nominations, including, between them, the Governor General, Silver Birch, Blue Heron, Mr. Christie and the Writers Guild of Alberta R. Ross Annett.
Theatre: Adapted Chinua Achebe’s acclaimed African novel, Things Fall Apart for the 2010 Afrikadey! Festival and the 2010 Theatre Calgary FUSE program. Her newest play, Ottawa Street, co-written with Clem Martini, is in development and will be workshopped at Ontario’s Blyth Theatre in 2011. Heaven, her play about a 1927 Black school teacher who arrives from the East to teach in Amber Valley, was co-presented in a 2007 workshop and staged reading by Black Theatre Montreal and Playwright’s Workshop Montreal. The play was a finalist in Theatre BC’s National Playwriting Competition (2000), was produced by Lunchbox Theatre (2001), and aired on CBC Radio (2004). Turnaround was co-written with Clem Martini and produced by Lunchbox and Quest Theatres (1999/2000) and was a finalist for the Betty Mitchell New Play Award.
Film: Researcher, National Film Board’s (NFB) Mighty Jerome (2010); consultant, NFB’s Race is a Four Letter Word (2006). Wrote and directed The Journey of Lesra Martin in 2002, about the young man who was the catalyst for the freeing of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, aired on CBC TV and featured at Hollywood Black Film Festival (2003); Love Hurts (1998), finalist, Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards; “The Higher Law”, co-written for North of Sixty; member, story-writing team, TV series, North of Sixty, for 2.5 seasons; Carol’s Mirror (1992), winner of national and international educational film awards.
Honours: Including Harry Jerome Award for the Arts (2008), inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); Merit Award, Fort Calgary (2004); Chris Award, for Journey of Lesra Martin, Columbus Internationall Film Festival (2003); Best Education Program, Gold Apple Award & Short Drama Award, for Carol’s Mirror (1992); one of three winners, Great North TV Writing Competition (1995); Achievement Award, BAASA (1998).
Works: More than 40 articles or essays published in magazines or newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Alberta Views; and the anthologies Alberta Encore (2010), One Step Over the Line (2008), Directions – The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the British Slave Trade (2007), Remembering Chinook Country (2006).
Education: Journalism, Mount Royal College, Calgary.
Favourite book? My list of favourite books would be as long as a river. One of my most recent favourites is The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill because of its beauty, clarity and brilliant research.
Favourite quote? “The arts have always been a bulwark against ignorance, vulgarity and savagery.” – John Macfarlane
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? I would like to live in London for a year.
Who inspires you? My husband Clem and our daughters, Chandra and Miranda, are all good writers who present me with examples of how important discipline is to the creative process. I am also inspired by musicians and their work.
Why do you do what you do? To provide a voice for the unheard, to have an impact on the world, to supply entertainment for myself and others, and to make a living and because my nature compels me to do so.