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Bonnie Greer

bonnie greer SI leeds literary prize patron

Bonnie Greer, OBE, studied theatre in Chicago under David Mamet, in New York City at  the Actors Studio with Elia Kazan, and at the Negro Ensemble Company under the West Indian-American playwright Steve Carter.  Greer has lived in the UK since 1986 and became a citizen in 1997. She holds dual nationality.  Her plays, books and novels are concerned with the lives of minorities within majority cultures, particularly those of women.

She has been Arts Council playwright in residence at the Soho Theatre, and at the Black Theatre Co-operative.  She was awarded the Verity Bargate Award for Best Play by the Soho Theatre Company, and shortlisted for an Arts Council award for Best Play. Bonnier Greer has had over a dozen plays produced over BBC Radio; one short film for BBC 2, and co-produced and wrote and presented the documentary on Black art in the West: Reflecting Skin, (2004) for the BBC. She has played Joan of Arc at the Theatre Atelier in Paris; wrote and performed her improvisational oratorio “Greco/Davis” for the 2009 London Jazz Festival alongside the Black British jazz artists, Cleveland Watkiss and Julian Joseph. Her play Marilyn and Ella, about the real life friendship of Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald had a brief run at the Apollo Theatre, West End in 2009.

  • She is the author of two novels: Hanging by Her Teeth (1994) and Entropy (2009).  In October 2009, her memoir/ music history Obama Music, was published.
  • Her biography: Langston Hughes: the Value Of Contradiction was published by Arcadia in 2011. She is currently working on a novel about the Pre-Raphelite poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and her opera Yes, written with the composer Errollyn Wallen, premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in November 2011.
  • She is Deputy Chairman of the British Museum and is also creating a 3.0 Diversity organisation to launch in Paris and London.
  • She was appointed OBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours for contribution to the arts.