Jessica Hagedorn was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the United States in her early teens. Her novels include Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love, and Dogeaters, winner of the American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award.
Hagedorn is also the author of Danger And Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and the editor of three anthologies: Manila Noir, Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction and Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home In The World.
Work in theatre includes the musical play Most Wanted, a collaboration with composer Mark Bennett and director Michael Greif at La Jolla Playhouse; Fe In The Desert and Stairway To Heaven for Campo Santo in San Francisco, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters, which was presented at La Jolla Playhouse and at the NYSF/Public Theater (dir. by Michael Greif), at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City (dir. by Jon Lawrence Rivera) and in Manila (dir. by Bobby Garcia).
Hagedorn wrote the screenplay for Fresh Kill, a feature film directed by Shu Lea Cheang. She wrote the scripts for the experimental animated series The Pink Palace, which was created for the first season of the Oxygen Network.
From 1975-85, Hagedorn was the leader of a band called The Gangster Choir. One of her signature songs, “Tenement Lover”, is included in John Giorno’s ‘80s downtown music anthology, A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth Of A Corpse.
Honors and prizes include a Gerbode, Hewlett Foundations’ Playwriting Award, a Lucille Lortel Playwrights’ Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship, a Kesselring Prize Honorable Mention for Dogeaters, an NEA-TCG Playwriting Residency Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the Sundance Playwrights’ Lab and the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab.
Hagedorn has taught in the MFA Playwriting Program at Yale, and in the MFA Creative Writing Program at LIU Brooklyn, NYU and Columbia University.