Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn is an acclaimed novelist, playwright, poet, screenwriter and performance artist. She studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and moved to New York City in the late 70s. Her plays and multimedia theater pieces include Where The Mississippi Meets the Amazon (a collaboration with fellow writers Ntozake Shange and Thulani Davis, presented by Joseph Papp in 1978), Mango Tango (a solo piece with live music also produced by Joe Papp for the Public Theater in 1978), Airport Music (a collaboration with Han Ong, presented at the Joseph Papp Public Theater and the Berkeley Repertory Theater), and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, developed at the Sundance Theater and premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 1998. The award-winning production was directed by Michael Greif, and ran at New York's Public Theater during the 2000-2001 season.
Hagedorn's published works include Dogeaters (nominated for a National Book Award, published by Penguin USA in 1991), Danger and Beauty (a collection of poetry and prose, published by Penguin USA in 1993), Charlie Chan is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian-American Fiction (ed., published by Penguin USA in 1993), The Gangster of Love (nominated for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, published by Penguin USA in 1997), Burning Heart: A Portrait of the Philippines (a collaboration with photojournalist Marissa Roth, published by Rizzoli Books International in 1999), and Dream Jungle (published by Viking Press in 2003). Nonfiction articles, interviews, reviews, and essays have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, The Nation, BOMB, USA Weekend, and The Village Voice. In 2000, Hagedorn created the animated series The Pink Palace for Oxygen Media TV, with producer-designer John Woo. Other works include the 1992 screenplay for Fresh Kill (an independent feature film directed and produced by Shu Lea Cheang), Color Schemes and Those Fluttering Objects of Desire (both collaborative works with Cheang, and presented at The Whitney Museum). Grants and awards include a 1994 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award, a 1995 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a 1997 Sundance Theater Lab Fellowship, and a 1998 NEA-TCG Theatre Residency Fellowship. Hagedorn has taught at Columbia University and at New York University.