Issue 42 | July 2008

  • Message from Membership Directors Kibi & Angela
  • Message from Mia
  • Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP) Launches One-Hour TV Drama Module
  • Member Profile: Ceridwen Dovey '03
  • Industry Successes
  • Pencil Me In -- July 22: Harvardwood Books & Publishing Panel - NYC
  • Featured Member Posting: Sony BMG Seeks Senior Director of Corporate Development - NYC

Message from the Membership Directors

Hope summer is off to a good start for everyone. Congratulations to those of you who graduated last month, we were happy to see so many of you at the Boston reunion! And whether you joined us for a fine evening in the Emerald City or the rooftop BBQ in the City of Angels, we were thrilled with the turnout from coast to coast. Stay tuned to the weekly newsletter and our website for info on more events in your local chapters.

This month, say hello to those interns who are summering in your respective cities and enjoy our member profile on Ceridwen Dovey '03. Be sure to check out the live video version on our Harvardwood Channel as well. From weddings to successful screenplays, congratulations and thanks to all of you who have shared your stories below! Till next time...

Happy Fourth of July!
Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

It's been an exciting summer for Harvardwood so far, with packed events in New York, LA, Boston and Seattle! Special shout-outs to Chapter Heads Suki Cheong, Spence Porter, Kelly Abell O'Shea, and Brenda Walker as well as board members Crescent Muhammad, Kibi Anderson, and Amit Samuel for making these happen...

Next up, we have our fabulous Harvardwood Books & Publishing Panel on July 22nd in NYC. Speakers will include alum agents, publishers, and authors, including this month's profile subject, Ceridwen Dovey '03. And if you're in LA, please consider participating in the second edition of the HWP One-Hour TV Drama program, which launches in a few weeks -- as always, details can be found on the website:

Happy fireworks!

Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP) Launches 2008 One-Hour TV Drama Module

The Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP) is launching the 2008 One-Hour TV Drama Writing Module in Los Angeles. The module will have 10 meetings over four months, every other Tuesday (7:00PM-10PM) from July 22 – Nov 25, 2008. Meetings will be in the Hollywood area. Each participant in the TV Module will be supported in writing a spec, one-hour script for an existing TV drama, from concept to completion. Participants will also interact with industry guest speakers (writer-producers, execs, agents, etc). For more information and to register, please visit:

Member Profile: Ceridwen Dovey '03

by Michelle Wu '07

Ceridwen Dovey. The name makes you do a double take, but the person makes you glad you did. Cheerful, bold, and adventurous, Ceridwen Dovey’s personality is as colorful as her life story. Which is saying a lot.

Our heroine’s story begins in apartheid South Africa, where she was born the second daughter of two anti-apartheid intellectuals. The family eventually relocated to Australia, where her parents still live. Ceridwen, however, moved to London for a year after high school, before going on to Harvard for a joint degree in Visual and Environmental Studies and Anthropology. As her senior thesis, she produced "Aftertaste", a documentary on wine labor relations in South Africa that showed at film festivals around the world. This year, the award-winning documentarian has just released her first novel, Blood Kin, in 14 countries.

Did I mention she’s 27? Seems like this young novelist is developing quite the life tale.

Blood Kin, however, is consciously not autobiographical. The tale of a fictional military coup is set in a deliberately ambiguous country at an unspecified time. This country’s president has just been overthrown by a military commander, and three members of the presidential household—his chef, his portraitist, and his barber—are taken hostage and speak out in turn. Through the narration of these characters and the significant women in their lives, Dovey weaves an intimate picture of how, as one character puts it, “power and desire couple effortlessly.” The book jacket features a blurb by Nobel Prize winner and fellow South African writer J.M. Coetzee, calling Blood Kin "a fable of the arrogance of power, beneath whose dreamlike surface swirl currents of complex sensuality."

It may be dark, but it is delicious. And critics around the world have been eating it up, praising Blood Kin as a masterful debut novel. As the New York Times Book Review wrote, “Dovey's ultimate lesson…may be a bleak one, but she presents her case so meticulously and relentlessly that you've got to respect her authority.” In 2007, Blood Kin was short-listed for the United Kingdom’s prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Award for the best book by a British/Commonwealth writer under 35. This year, it has been short-listed for another illustrious honor, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best First Book, Africa.

How does Dovey see her success at this new enterprise?

“It came a little bit out of the blue,” she laughs, referring to a background without any undergraduate fiction-writing courses. “My career as a novelist came out of a failure at filmmaking.”

Our readers may be skeptical to hear her utter the word “failure,” but she explains. After graduating from Harvard, she spent a year in New York working at the PBS current affairs program, "NOW with Bill Moyers". Dovey then moved to Cape Town with the intention of producing an ethnographic film about post-apartheid South Africa. But her plans fell through when she found herself on her own without camera or equipment. Caught in a self-proclaimed “crisis of confidence” and desperate for a creative outlet, she turned to writing, enrolling in a Masters of Creative Writing program at the University of Cape Town.

The product was Blood Kin. After completing the novel for her masters degree, our fearless heroine entered the world of publishing just as naturally as she had entered the world of writing. According to Dovey, she pulled out the telephone book and looked up a few publishing houses in South Africa, one of which was Penguin South Africa.

“I called them up and said, ‘Hi I wrote a book, do you want to read it?’ And they said yes.” The rest is book tours, interviews, multi-continent editions…

And graduate school. Forget basking in the glow of success—Dovey, now a PhD student in Social Anthropology at New York University, once again carries it with her onto new and different pursuits. From wine farms to fictional dictators, to…climate change adaptation? She explains that it’s not that far a stretch.

“My PhD supervisor suspects that I’m interested in moments of dislocation, in new orders emerging, and I think he’s right.” Even if the consistency between passions is questionable, her passion is, as always, undeniable. Climate change adaptation, she says, is “becoming a political rallying point. And it is changing the way we live in the most drastic way since the industrial revolution.”

Devoted readers still have hope that our budding anthropologist will produce another novel in the future. Constantly steeped in the literature of social anthropology these days, Dovey confesses to having cravings for her other love, “I just want to read fiction all the time!” Never one to be pegged into a niche, Dovey is currently exploring other genres of writing as well. She describes it as one of the unforeseen perks of being a celebrated new writer: “other types of writing opportunities fall into your lap.” In addition to book reviews and short fiction, she is working on an essay for Vogue about coming of age in South Africa at the time of the first democratic elections in 1994.

For any normal person, this would be a full plate. But learning as much as we have about our heroine so far, we cannot help but ask, anything else? –– all the while fearing that this Harvardwood interview must be taking up the last seconds of her free time. However, in true form, Ceridwen smiles (we can hear it over the phone) and admits that she is involved with a few other things. She is learning how to swing dance. And she is taking French lessons again, in preparation for a book tour in Paris. Just another art form and another language.

So where does documentarian-novelist-graduate student Ceridwen see herself in ten years?

“I’d like to always be working on creative projects even if I’m working as something else.” She pauses to add some practical matters…”And I’d be 38, so I guess I’d have a kid or two.”

By that point, she will probably have another career or two as well. Let’s hope that she keeps us updated. I, for one, would be delighted to read the autobiography of Ceridwen Dovey if she ever chooses to write it.

Industry Successes...

Congratulations to Chloe Cockburn '01 & Marc Scheff '99 who were married on June 14th. The newlyweds currently live in Brooklyn. Check out Chloe's newly released book of her artwork: And here's a link to Marc's artwork:

Theresa Moore '86 is the Executive Producer, Writer and Director of the multi-media project entitled "License to Thrive: Title IX at 35." The project examines the unique history of the Title IX legislation and its role in creating leadership opportunities for women in numerous areas including sports. The television documentary has an encore presentation on Wednesday, June 18, on ESPN2. You can view the project website at

Abigail Rose Solomon is producing and starring in Hit Show "PROOF." Due to critical and audience acclaim, "PROOF" was invited to move to MACHA THEATRE in West Hollywood. Running June 19- July 13, 2008: Thursdays-Sundays. Tickets and Info at:

Robert A. Johnson HLS '99 just shot episodes of 24 and WITHOUT A TRACE.

Will Burke '99 just sold his screenplay "LE CAR" to MGM - a spec comedy feature he co-wrote with partner Wayne McClammy, who is attached to direct. Will Burke has been a writer at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" since 2005.

Pencil Me In...

July 22: Harvardwood Books & Publishing Panel (NYC)

Harvardwood is pleased to present our first-ever publishing industry panel event! The panel will feature authors Ceridwen Dovey '03 (Blood Kin), Jennifer Lee '99 (The Fortune Cookie Chronicles), and Nancy Redd '04 (Body Drama), publishing manager and acquiring editor at Penguin Publishing Molly Barton, and Jennifer Joel '98, book agent at International Creative Management (The Rule of Four). The panel will be moderated by author Laurence Bergreen '72 (Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu; Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe).

The panel will be held on Tues., July 22, from 7-8:30 pm, at the 78th Street Theatre, located at 1016 Broadway, on the second floor. Admission is free for Full Members of Harvardwood and $5 for non-members or Affiliates. Please register at

Featured Member Posting: Sony BMG Seeks Senior Director of Corporate Development - NYC

Sony BMG’s Global Digital Business (GDB) unit is seeking a Senior Director of Corporate Development for its New York City office. The Senior Director will be responsible for evaluating new investment opportunities that will enable Sony BMG to continue its growth of digital music sales. Such investments may include buyouts, joint ventures or early-stage venture deals. Strong financial analysis skills are required, as well as an interest in the digital media sector. The Senior Director will report directly to the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development... To view full posting, please visit:



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