Author & Historian
This Black History Month, Ellipsis Tree Collective would like to acknowledge award-winning author and historian Cheryl Foggo for her contributions to Arts and Culture in Canada. We've had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, Ms. Foggo on a handful of occasions. A privilege that has motivated us as artists and as women. Thank you, Cheryl, for your work, passion and inspiration. Your accomplishments speak volumes to your thoughtful creativity.
A Calgary freelancer since 1980, Cheryl Foggo began writing as a young child. Encouraged by her mother's appreciation for literature, her love affair with written word continued into young adulthood. Throughout her lifetime to date, she has created a successful career through the exploration of African study, with specific focus on Blacks in Western Canada. With creative partner and husband Clem Martini by her side, Cheryl has graced the literary landscape with numerous award-worthy and notable publications. She has worked as a screenwriter, young adult novelist, fiction and non-fiction author, poet and playwright. She has been published as a journalist in Canadian Magazine, Reader's Digest.ca, AlbertaViews, Alberta Ventures, Calgary, Western Living, Sunday Magazine, Arts Bridge, Muse, Canadian Consumer, the Calgary Herald, the Globe and Mail and Legacy. She has served as a creative inspiration and community leader, and we proudly acknowledge her many auspicious achievements.
RECENT AND CURRENT PROJECTS
Cheryl Foggo's new children's book Dear Baobab was published by Second Story Press in 2011.
Her collection of essays about southern Alberta's Black history Hiding Place, will be released by University of Calgary Press in 2013.
Her most recent work for the theatre, co-written with Clem Martini, The Devil We Know will premiere at the Blyth Theatre Festival in August, 2012.
Her stage adaptation of the acclaimed Chinua Achebe novel Things Fall Apart is in development.
She worked as a researcher/writer on Mighty Jerome, the NFB film on the life of Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome. Her work also appears in the new anthology Encore Alberta, and the recently published anthology Directions – The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the British Slave Trade.
Well known for her work uncovering the stories of Alberta's early Black pioneers, her multi-media presentations Ranchers, Rebels and the Righteous, Creole, Travelling On, Five Voices and Unlocking Sacred Codes have received multiple presentations across Alberta.
The recipient of the 2008 national Harry Jerome Award For The Arts, she is presently at work on a novel and a theatrical exploration of the life of John Ware.
Cheryl Foggo's young adult novel, I Have Been in Danger, was published by Coteau Books in the fall of 2001, and was a finalist for the R. Ross Annett Award for children's literature. It was also a finalist for the Silver Birch Award and the Golden Eagle Book Award.
Her young adult novel, One Thing That's True, published by Kids Can Press, was a finalist for the 1997 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Blue Heron Book Award and the R. Ross Annett Book Award.
In 1990, her first book, Pourin' Down Rain, was published and nominated as a finalist in the Alberta Culture Prize for non-fiction.
Her non-fiction work has been published in 15 anthologies, including the just-released Encore Alberta, as well as One Step Over the Line, Directions – The Bicentenary of the Abolition of the British SlaveTrade, Remembering Chinook Country,Wild Rose Anthology of Alberta Prose and Weaving a Nation.
In addition to the above-mentioned plays:
The one act version of Heaven, a play about the Amber Valley Black Pioneers, was commissioned and workshopped for Lunchbox Theatre's 2000 Petro-Canada Play series and was produced at Lunchbox in November, 2001. Heaven was a finalist in Theatre BC's National Playwriting Competition, 2000, and a finalist for the 2001 Dr. Betty Mitchell Award for best new play.
In 2007, Black Theatre Montreal and Playwright's Workshop Montreal co-presented a workshop and staged reading of the full length version of Heaven. Heaven was also presented as a staged reading by the Fort Calgary Theatre during Afrikadey! 2005, by Alberta Playwrights Network in 2004 and was performed as part of Toronto's World Theatre/Afri-Canadian Festival in April of 2003.
Heaven has also aired nationally on CBC Radio's Sunday Showcase and Monday Night Playhouse as part of their Black History Month programming in 2004.
Turnaround, cowritten with Clem Martini, was produced by Lunchbox Theatre and Quest Theatre in 1999/2000, was a finalist in the best new play category of the 1999 Dr. Betty Mitchell Awards and is published by Eldridge Press.
TELEVISION and FILM
Cheryl Foggo completed successful screenings of the National Film Board of Canada Documentary; The Journey of Lesra Martin, which she wrote and directed, at the 2002 Atlantic Film Festival, The 2002 Vancouver International Film Festival and the 2002 Calgary International Film Festival. The script for The Journey of Lesra Martin was a finalist in the 2002 Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards. The film completed a successful national tour, was screened at the Hollywood Black Film Festival in June, 2003, aired on CBC's Passionate Eye and won a Chris Award at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival in November, 2003.
She has worked as writer and story editor for seasons four, five and six of the television series North of 60. She co-wrote (with Peter Lauterman) The Higher Law, episode 77 (season 5) of North of 60. She wrote episode 82, Love Hurts (season 6) of North of 60. This episode was nominated for an Alberta Motion Picture Industry Award.
The NFB short film, Carol's Mirror, co-written with her husband, won a Gold Apple award at the 22nd National Education Film and Video Festival, Oakland, California, a Best Film, Guidance and Counselling category, at the International Education Film and Video Festival, Birmingham, Alabama, Le Prix du Meilleur court-metrage de fiction, Festival du Film Caribeen in Martinique, West Indies, and an Award of Merit at the AMTEC Media Festival, Vancouver, B.C. It also received an Honourable Mention at the 34th Annual American Film and Video Festival, Chicago, Illinois.
Cheryl Foggo has worked as a consultant and/or researcher on several film and television projects, including Mentors (Harriet's Way) and the National Film Board documentary films Race is a Four-Letter Word and Mighty Jerome, which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2010.
SHORT FICTION, POETRY, RESEARCHER and OTHER
She has published short fiction in a number of anthologies, including Alberta Rebound and The Road Home, and her poetry has appeared in a variety of Canadian publications, including Quarry, Canadian Literature, blue buffalo, and Transition.
She has been employed as writer/researcher for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Glenbow Museum, the National Film Board of Canada and Fort Calgary, and has given numerous keynote addresses across Canada and during a tour of Jamaica and Barbados in 2006. Also in demand as a writing teacher and lecturer, she has taught playwriting at the University of Calgary. Cheryl Foggo received a Merit Award from Fort Calgary for her work on the Canadian Soul exhibit in 2004. She is a past winner of the Overall Achievement Award from the Black Achievement Awards Society of Alberta and has formerly been selected as one of ten "Calgarians to Watch" by Avenue Magazine.
February 16th, 2PM (Mount Royal University, Nickle Theatre)
Unlocking Sacred Codes; Examining the secret maps hidden in the songs that guided fugitive slaves to Canada, with vocalist-musicians Paul Gardener and Rochelle Lamoureux. A multi-media journey into the secret and complex musical world of spirituals, and an enslaved community that used its own coded language to provide guideposts along the escape route to Canada. Learn how Canada was represented in song, and how western Canada's Black pioneers brought and adapted this music to their new environment. Interpretations of selected songs will be provided by descendants of the Black pioneers.
February 23rd, 7PM (University of Calgary, Taylor Family Digital Library)
The True West, Black and Free - John Ware Reimagined: a work-in-progress theatrical evening of music, image and vignette in tribute to storied Black cowboy John Ware. As Calgary celebrates the centennial of the Stampede, this Black History Month presentation celebrates the contributions of a man who embodied the western values of hospitality, excellence and possibility. Featuring readings by actors Janelle Cooper and Jesse Lipscombe, music by singer-songwriter Miranda Martini and the direction of John Cooper, this multi-faceted composition looks beyond the legend and explores the galvanizing humanity of this complex and influential western hero.
LINKS (recent media)
Cheryl on Facebook