PERSONAL: Children: Maya. Education: Graduated from Wesleyan University.
ADDRESSES: Home—NY. Agent—Phyllis Wender, Rosenstone Wender, 38 E. 29th St., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10016.
CAREER: Playwright, writer, editor, and artistic director. Worked for Young-Adult Conservation Corps, Olympic Reforestation Inc., and on a salmon troller in southeast Alaska. Actors & Writers (theatre company), artistic director; Chronogram, book editor.
AWARDS, HONORS: ABC Playwright Award, and LA Weekly Award, both c. 1984, both for Homesteaders; Writers Guild Award, for teleplay Labor of Love.
COEDITOR WITH ERIC LANE
The Actor's Book of Scenes from New Plays, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1988.
Moving Parts: Monologues from Contemporary Plays, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1992.
The Actor's Book of Gay and Lesbian Plays, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Plays for Actresses, Vintage (New York, NY), 1997.
Take Ten: New Ten-minute Plays, Vintage (New York, NY), 1997.
Leading Women: Plays for Actresses II, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.
Take Ten II: More Ten-Minute Plays, Vintage (New York, NY), 2003.
Talk to Me: Monologue Plays, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.
Under 30: Plays for a New Generation, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.
Homesteaders (play), S. French (New York, NY) 1984.
(Editor) The Actor's Book of Contemporary Stage Monologues, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Michael Ryan) Michael Ryan: Between Living and Dreaming, 1982–1994, Waanders Publishers (Zwolle), 1994.
Clearcut (novel), Anchor Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Romeo/Juliet (play; adapted from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet), Broadway Play Publishing (New York, NY), 2004.
Finger Foods (collection of plays), Playscripts (New York, NY), 2006.
Also co-author, with Nicole Quinn and Rondout Valley High School Drama Club, of play War at Home: Students Respond to September 11th; author of one-act plays, including No Shoulder, Lush Life, Lives of the Great Waitresses, Finger Food, and Emotional Baggage. Author of television scripts, including Labor of Love, Blind Spot, and Unwed Father. Adaptor of Jane Smiley's novella Good Will for American Playhouse, Public Broadcasting Service. Contributor of stories and essays to periodicals, including Lifetime, New Woman, Femina, Living Fit, Prima Materia, Upstate House, and Woodstock Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Nina Shengold is a novelist and playwright who has written for the stage and for television. Commenting on the life of a playwright, and in particular on the collaborative nature of playwriting, Shengold noted on the Writers Guild of America East Web site, "Some years ago, I started signing my first drafts. Painters handwrite their names on their canvasses; why shouldn't I? It's an affectation, I guess, but it keeps me in touch with a radical notion: pride of authorship."
Shengold is also coeditor, with Eric Lane, of a number of books featuring plays for specific groups of actors. In Plays for Actresses, Shengold and Lane present seven plays and ten one-acts that are especially suited to female performers. Leading Women: Plays for Actresses II includes twenty-two plays that premiered from 1990 through 2001. Elizabeth Stifter, writing in the Library Journal, noted that "these pieces are an excellent representation of the poignant writing available for actresses." Under 30: Plays for a New Generation focuses on plays written specifically for actors under the age of thirty. Overall, the volume includes sixteen plays and excerpts from four others. Larry Schwartz, writing in the Library Journal, called the collection "fresh and gripping." Talk to Me: Monologue Plays features works by such writers as Neil Labute, Jose Rivera, David Ives, David Cale, Danny Hoch, and Anna Deavere Smith. Booklist contributor Jack Helbig noted that the collection will be "of interest to both actors, especially those looking for new audition pieces, and readers eager to keep up with current trends in American theater."
In her first novel, Clearcut, Shengold sets her story in the Pacific Northwest, where the author once lived and worked. The plot revolves around a ménage a trois that develops when the rugged Earley Ritter picks up a hitchhiker name Reed Alton and eventually becomes involved with Reed's girlfriend, Zan. "Shengold has a keen familiarity with this moist, woodsy region of the country, and the sexual tension among the three rough-and-ready lovers resonates thrillingly with the landscape," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The reviewer went on to call the novel "a nouveau hippie tale with boldness and spunk." Kevin Greczek, writing in the Library Journal, commented that the author "does a good job presenting Earley's struggles" and "evoking pathos for a misanthrope from the wilds."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2004, Jack Helbig, review of Talk to Me: Monologue Plays, p. 380.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of Clearcut, p. 504.
Library Journal, September 1, 1997, Ming-ming Shen Kuo, review of Plays for Actresses, p. 183; July, 2002, Elizabeth Stifter, review of Leading Women: Plays for Actresses II, p. 80; August, 2004, Larry Schwartz, review of Under 30: Plays for a New Generation, p. 82; December 1, 2004, Larry Schwartz, review of Talk to Me, p. 116; July 1, 2005, Kevin Greczek, review of Clearcut, p. 71.
School Library Journal, April, 2005, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Under 30, p. 164.
Dollee.com, http://www.doollee.com/ (September 14, 2005), information on Shengold's plays.
Nina Shengold Home Page, http://www.ninashengold.com (September 14, 2005).
Writers Guild of America East Web site, http://www.wgaeast.org/ (November 10, 2005), transcript of speech by Shengold.