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Finalists of the Sixth annual
Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting Award
on the African American Experience

Winner - Playwright: Cerstin Johnson


Set against the backdrop of a southern town, Gossamer illuminates one family’s struggle with love, betrayal and shame triggered by a father’s infidelity. Written with grace and probing insight, Cerstin Johnson infusing her powerful tale with the music of traditional African-American blues and with the promise of how we nurture filial injury back to life’s remarkable renewal.

Click here to read an excerpt from the script.


Cerstin Johnson was born in Metairie, LA to four siblings and a single mother who taught her what stories are made of from a very young age. An avid writer throughout most of her childhood, Cerstin first discovered playwriting after she relocated to Washington, DC in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Under the tutelage of Mark A. Williams at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Cerstin wrote and read many plays as well as continued to explore other writing forms in high school. Cerstin is currently a graduating senior at Smith College in Northampton, MA where she majors in theatre with a minor in education. Playwrights that inspire her include Adrienne Kennedy, Katori Hall, and Lynn Nottage. She hopes to take the next year off for writing and applying to MFA playwriting programs.

Read the Marshall Institue Blog interview with Cerstin Johnson.

Staged Reading: Saturday, April 28th 2012 @ 10:30a.m.
This is a FREE event. To order complimentary seats, CLICK HERE.



Honorable Mention - Playwright: Brandon Kinion

All Played Out

All Played Out is an ambitious four act drama that tracks two cousins, one a street hustler and the other a young Kenyan. The unwinding narrative in various styles of language covers four generations and an unflinching political indictment of society. Written by Brandon Kinion who attends Anne Arundel Community College in Annapolis, Maryland.

Click here to read an excerpt from the script.


Brandon Holt Kinion is scheduled to graduate from Anne Arundel Community College in the spring of 2013 with an A.A. degree in film studies, a certificate of film analysis, and a creative writing certificate. Brandon also has a passion for anthropology. Last summer he was selected out of an elite group of students to participate as a research assistant at Towson University for a program called Anthropology by the Wire. The program was funded by the National Science Foundation.


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Of Interest:

TheatreForum - An international theatre journal since 1992
La Jolla Playhouse - UCSD is home to this Tony Award winning theatre
UC San Diego Home Page - UC San Diego's Main Web Site
9500 Gilman Drive MC0344
La Jolla, CA 92093
Tel: (858) 534-3791