"Good writing, on page, stage or screen, has provoked, consoled, delighted, moved and inspired me all my life, so creating it -- or helping someone else do so -- is the best way I can think of to justify myself.
It's easy to spot the ingredients in strong creative writing - story and style; simple - but when we try to put them together ourselves it becomes a mystery only occasionally solved. Having worked in several forms, including fiction, playwriting and screenwriting, I've become familiar with the demands of each, and working through them with Knox students is exhilarating for me and, I hope, helpful for some of them. They surprised me with their writing in 2010; I'm looking forward to further surprises.
As for my own material: I was struck years ago by the attributed deathbed maxim of the actor Edmund Gwenn that dying is hard, but comedy is harder, so my personal blend is a serious situation marbled with character humor. When it works, it's like life, only just a little better."
Years at Knox: 2011 to present
B.A., Theatre, 1972, Knox College.
Laguna Beach Artist of the Year Award (Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts, Third Annual Art-Star Awards), Laguna Beach, California, 2009.
Best Feature Film Nomination for Diminished Capacity, Midwest Independent Film Festival, Chicago, Illinois, 2008.
Backstage West Honorable Mention for the play Who's Hot/Who's Not, 2001.
Knox College Alumni Achievement Award "in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a Novelist," 2000.
Wrote the "What's So Funny" column for the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot (Tribune Co.), 2002-2009.
Adapted Diminished Capacity into a screenplay which was filmed in 2007 as a co-production of Plum Pictures and Steppenwolf Films, starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Virginia Madsen, Dylan Baker, Louis CK, Lois Smith, Jim True-Frost and Bobby Cannavale and directed by Terry Kinney, 2008.
Adapted Who's Hot/Who's Not into a play which received its Equity premiere at the Laguna Beach Playhouse in California, 2001.
Who's Hot/Who's Not (Berkley), 1998.
Big Babies (Berkley), 1996.
Diminished Capacity (Berkley), 1995.
California Rush, published by Macmillan, 1990.
With Joe Martin, co-wrote an episode of "E/R," a CBS sitcom starring Elliott Gould, Mary McDonnell and George Clooney, 1984.
Workshopped and acted in a new comedy, Scared Money, in Laguna Beach, staged by Gallimaufry Performing Arts, 2009.
What Students Say
"Sherwood Kiraly genuinely takes an interest in his students- not just as students, but as artists and as human beings. He always makes himself accessible to discuss their writing or any ideas they have for future pieces, and always has the perfect anecdotes to share. In addition, he has even collaborated with his students on projects that they have had- such as participating in a reading of a student-written play. He has a wonderful respect for the works that his students create- whether it's their first piece or their fiftieth, and is there to guide them every step of the way as they write. Taking a class with, talking to, or even just seeing Sherwood in passing is always a treat."
-Alyssa Gill, Theatre Major
Leading up to a worldwide event -- Gun Control Theatre Action Week, May 27 through June 2 -- a play by Knox College theatre professor Neil Blackadder was selected for a new collection, "24 Gun Control Plays."
Rana Tahir, a double major in creative writing and political science, wrote dozens of poems and created 29 paintings after interviewing Kuwaiti residents about the 1990 Iraqi occupation.
Knox College awarded more than $3,000 in prizes in the 2013 Al Young Art Show. Organizing 200 art works in an array of media is a challenge, according student Katie O'Connor, who helped arrange the entries.