JESSICA HAGEDORN Biography - Writers


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Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn                                                           
Born 1949                                                                           
Manila, Philippines                                                                 
Occupation playwright, writer, poet, storyteller, musician, multimedia               
performance artist                                                                   
Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn was born (and raised) in Manila, Philippines in 1949.     
With her background, a Scots-Irish-French-Filipino mother and a Filipino-Spanish     
father with one Chinese ancestor, Hagedorn adds a unique perspective to Asian       
American performance and literature. Her mixed media style often incorporates       
song, poetry, images, and spoken dialogue.                                           
Moving to San Francisco in 1963, Hagedorn received her education at the American     
Conservatory Theater training program. To further pursue playwriting and music,     
she moved to New York in 1978.                                                       
Joseph Papp produced her first play Mango Tango in 1978. Hagedorn's other           
productions include Tenement Lover, Holy Food, and Teenytown.                       
In 1985, 1986, and 1988, she received Macdowell Colony Fellowships, which helped     
enable her to write the novel Dogeaters, which illuminates many different           
aspects of Filipino experience, focusing on the influence of America through         
radio, television, and movie theaters. She shows the complexities of the love-hate   
relationship many Filipinos in diaspora feel toward their past. After its           
publication in 1990, her novel earned a 1990 National Book Award nomination and     
an American Book Award. In 1998, La Jolla Playhouse produced a stage adaptation.     
She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters, and continues to be a     
poet, storyteller, musician, playwright, and multimedia performance artist.