Wright, Bil

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Born in New York, NY. Education: Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, B.F.A. (drama); Brooklyn College, M.F.A. (playwriting).


Home—New York, NY. Office—TriBeCa Organization, 205 Hudson St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator and author of novels, plays, poetry, and short stories. Mabou Mines, resident artist; Housing Works, New York, NY, English teacher; Martin Luther King Center for Social Change, Atlanta, GA, director of performing arts program and director of plays; Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and Long Island University, instructor in literature, English composition, and English as a second language; Marymount Manhattan College, New York, instructor in acting; TriBeCa Organization, New York, director of the Pathways to Understanding Program.


Millay fellowship, 1995.


Sunday You Learn How to Box, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.

One Foot in Love, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Men on Men 3, Plume, 1990; The Road before Us: 100 Gay Black Poets, Galiens, 1991; Tough Acts to Follow: One-Act Plays on the Gay/Lesbian Experience, Alamo Square Press, 1992; Jugular Defenses, The Oscars Press, 1994; The Name of Love: Classic Gay Love Poems, St. Martin's Press, 1995; and Shades: An Anthology of Fiction by Gay Men of African Descent, Avon, 1996. Contributor to literary journals, including James White Review and Art and Understanding. Author of plays performed at Yale University, New Haven, CT; Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI; and Dixon Place, Nuycorican Cafe, and Samuel Beckett Theater, all in New York City.


Bil Wright had already established himself as a poet, short story writer, and playwright before his first novel, Sunday You Learn How to Box, was published in 2000. Sunday You Learn How to Box, which was described as a "captivating, assured first novel" by Advocate contributor Etelka Lehoczky, is about Louis, a young African-American teenager in the 1960s who is attempting to cope with, among other things, an abusive stepfather, a racist teacher, and the realization that he is gay. The novel's title refers to the weekly boxing lessons that Louis's mother, Jeanette, arranges for her new husband, Ben, to give Louis. Jeanette hopes that if her son learns how to fight, the neighborhood children who think Louis is a "sissy" will stop bullying him. Louis, on the other hand, sees the boxing lessons as "a chance for Ben to hit me like he'd always wanted to." Although Louis does not have a pleasant life, he narrates his story "with artful observation and a quiet, slow-burning wit," Chase Madar commented in the New York Times Book Review. To a Publishers Weekly contributor, "Louis is a winning character, an adolescent coping gracefully with his bitter lot, whose emotional strength and resilience ensure his survival into adulthood."

Wright's second novel, One Foot in Love, is about a forty-year-old widow whose friends—assisted by the ghost of her late husband—help her find love again.



Advocate, April 25, 2000, Etelka Lehoczky, interview with Wright, p. 80.

Lambda Book Report, November-December, 2002, Jameson Currier, review of One Foot in Love, p. 48.

New York Times Book Review, February 20, 2000, Chase Madar, review of Sunday You Learn How to Box, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, May 6, 1996, review of Shades: An Anthology of Fiction by Gay Men of African Descent, p. 74; January 10, 2000, review of Sunday You Learn How to Box, p. 44.


BookRadio Web site,http://www.bookradio.com/ (November 7, 2003), "About Bil Wright."

Glyph Media Web site,http://www.glyphmedia.com/ (November 7, 2003), "Shade Author Biographies."

TriBeCa Organization Web site,http://www.tribecapac.org/ (November 7, 2003).*

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