Shay Youngblood

Shay Youngblood, Playwright

Photo by Caydee Daniel

Representative Plays:

Flying Blind (2013)
Amazing Grace (1998)
Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (1994)


Shay Youngblood fell into writing by accident as a child when she was watching TV and became angry at the fact that Howard Hughes was buying an entire floor in a Las Vegas hotel when children in her neighborhood couldn’t afford shoes. She wrote about what she felt and she felt better and this helped her see the power of words. Her first collection of stories, The Big Mama Stories, were a love letter to the women that raised her. Youngblood wrote the collection during her time in France and sent the collection of stories to a theater company in Atlanta who helped her adapt the 20 character play to something more manageable for a theatrical setting. Following the premiere of Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery in 1988, Youngblood went on to receive her MFA in creative writing from Brown University. In addition to being a playwright, Youngblood travels the country teaching playwriting and creative writing at institutions including: University of Mississippi, Texas A&M and NYU. She has received honors including the Pushcart prize for fiction, Lorrain Hansberry Playwriting Award, an Edward Albee Honor and multiple honors from the NAACP. Beyond all of her accomplishments, Youngblood writes to represent and honor her community and to tell stories that are consistently underrepresented.

Source: NYU Contemporary Playwrights of Color

Resources found in the UC Berkeley Library Database:

(CalNet authentication required) 

The Crying Bride (Full Text) 

Shakin' the Mess outta Misery (Full Text) 

Talking Bones (Full Text)