MAKERS Profile

Cherríe Moraga

Writer & Playwright

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Writer and playwright Cherríe Moraga on growing up in Chicano Catholic culture, freeing herself of self-homophobic fear, and where that new freedom was able to take her as a gay Chicana artist.
Cherríe Moraga is a playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition for her unique and personal perspective as a Chicana/Anglo and lesbian. As co-editor of the 1981 feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which garnered attention for women of color within the feminist movement and was also winner of the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award in 1986.   Moraga's work has been recognized with various awards and grants like the TCG Theatre Artist Residency Grant in 1996, the NEA's Theatre Playwrights' Fellowship in 1993, and two Fund for New American Plays Awards. In 2007, she was awarded the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature; in 2008, a Creative Work Fund Award, and in 2009, a Gerbode-Hewlett Foundation Grant for Playwriting.   Moraga has served as an Artist in Residence in the Department of Drama at Stanford University and currently also shares a joint appointment with Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.

More From Cherríe

Defending Who I Was
Moraga shares the moment she came out to her mother and the significance of being "seen" and still loved.

Tracking Down Judy Grahn
Moraga talks about how a meeting with poet Judy Grahn led to one of the most important pieces of advice she's received as a writer.

The Bravest Thing I've Ever Done
Moraga on how one of the bravest things she's ever done is come out to her mother and how grateful she remains for her mother's response.

More Risk, More Courage
Moraga shares how emotional courage can be more powerful than protests and barricades.

Chicana and Lesbian in the Same Sentence
Moraga on how she was terrified when writing  "Loving in the War Years" since it was personal to her own coming of age as a Chicana lesbian.  

1st Generation Writer
Moraga on how her original relationship with writing and storytelling was oral.

Going Home to Find Own Voice
Moraga recalls feedback she received from a poetry class and how, while it angered her, it also made her realize that she needed to write with her own tongue.

The Most Radical in Her Family
Moraga on how she's the most politically radical in her family even though she had the opportunity to enter the "white world."

"You're Not Really Mexican, Are You?"
Moraga on growing up half-Chicana, half-gringo and discovering the difference between how her Mexican friends and white friends were treated.

"Queer"
Moraga talks about growing up different for feeling like a boy and how the terror of being marked by the Catholic Devil followed her everywhere and evolved into a different kind of self-loathing as she grew up.

Children and Art
Moraga talks about how when making the decision to have children, she needed to be confident enough that she'd go back to her art. 

A Diary of Characters
Moraga on how after writing her autobiography, the characters came to her as she journaled.