Clinnesha (Dillon) Sibley, a native of McComb, Mississippi, is an award-winning playwright and published poet who advances the social consciousness of all people through her writing, teaching, directing and arts endeavoring. She is a proud wife and mother. She and her husband, Keith, are high school sweethearts and have two daughters named Kaylee and Karlee. Growing up a playwright, poet and performer/dancer, Clinnesha committed to training exclusively as a playwright while attending Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. As an Interdisciplinary Career Oriented Humanities major, she learned to focus inward—exploring identity, psyche, and the human condition. It was at this historically black college that Clinnesha also learned the connection between social activism and artistic practice. Her fidelity to the African-American experience and the ongoing movement of black theatre is evident in her research/creative work. Clinnesha received her M.F.A. in Playwriting from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, becoming the first African-American to earn such a degree at that institution. As both a student and an Assistant Professor at the U of A, Clinnesha was a diversity champion and a key woman educator in the arts. She proudly served the College of Charleston in South Carolina as an Assistant Professor of Playwriting where her mission was to empower students to cultivate their unique voice and write fearlessly, without limits. In the fall of 2017, she will begin her tenure as Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts. Clinnesha was just selected as one of twenty-four “change-makers” across the United States for the 2017-2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellow Program. To view her collections of poetry and other writings, visit amazon.com.
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All About Clinnesha: A Snapshot
Interest: I’ve always believed that our lives are giant canvases and that we are, largely, works-of-art. This belief is what brings me to the world of blogging. It is here, in this space, that I will find the art in absolutely everything. If you can find the art, you will find love, followed by purpose, followed by freedom, followed by peace…
Location: McComb, MS (I’ve lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Charleston, South Carolina, and on the campus of a boarding school in Piney Woods, Mississippi)
Favorite Author/Book: Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Other favorite authors: Maya Angelou, August Wilson, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison and Priscilla Shirer.
My Earliest Memory of Wanting to Write: I sat down to write a play. I was six years old. I do not recall where I got the playwriting model/format from, but my sister and I put together this script called “The Littering Bunny Rabbits” and produced it in our living room. I enjoyed the writing process so much. I remember having the time of my life being imaginative and creative. By the age of seven, I was on the typewriter.
Why Is Making Time To Write Important?: If our metaphysical equivalent is the atomic bomb, the three things that keep us from detonating are our spiritual beliefs and practices, our ability to love, and our social responsibility to write.
The First Thing I Think About When I Wake Up Is: It’s a simultaneous thought: Did we make it through the night without the kids getting into the bed? And…COFFEE!