Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee 

Imagine an actor as popular and familiar to audiences as Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman are today -- who is then virtually deleted from public memory. Such is the story of Canada Lee. 

Becoming Something (Faber & Faber, 2004) is the first biography of Canada Lee, one of America’s greatest black artists and activists and arguably the most tragic victim of the McCarthy-era blacklist. Star of the stage, screen and radio in the 1930s and 1940s, Lee worked with some of the top artists of his day, including Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Margaret Webster, Tallulah Bankhead, and John Garfield (pictured, above left, with Lee). A native of Harlem, Lee used his fame as a platform to fight for civil and human rights at home and around the world. Suspected as a Communist sympathizer and a traitor by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Lee's name was named during the infamous espionage trial of Judith Coplon, a Justice Department employee and "G-girl." Lee was denied work in the United States, and his passport was confiscated to stop him from working abroad. In 1952, at the age of 45, Lee died penniless in New York City; for decades, his many accomplishments were almost entirely erased from history.

Based on more than a decade of research, this critically acclaimed biography has generated requests for lectures and public appearances at U.S. colleges and universities. Panel appearances by the author have included “McCarthyism Revisited” at the Metropolitan College of New York, with Paul Robeson Jr. and authors Victor Navasky and Ellen Schrecker. Becoming Something is now in development for film and television, and as a multimedia project for the theater. Visit PLAYS for more information.

Current Projects

The Castle

Illustration from  The Castle  by Robert Babboni

Illustration from The Castle by Robert Babboni

The Castle follows the adventures of Leo, a mediocre boy in a mediocre school in a mediocre town who decides one day to make an unauthorized independent field trip to the mysterious ruins of a 19th-century castle on an island in the middle of a river, only to be kidnapped by a tough but affable talking fish named Goonch. Leo is transported to a parallel world, where he apparently looks exactly like a long-awaited hero who was summoned for an urgent quest and is quite overdue for his appointment. Before Leo can explain who he really is, he's swept up in a dangerous mission to rescue a kidnapped king and queen imprisoned in a volcano, with the help of a motley band of characters who can transform into all manner of somewhat disturbing creatures. The Castle is conceived as a multi-platform project, featuring art and animation by the nationally renowned illustrator Robert Babboni.

River of Glass: Book 1 of The Akkadian Quartet

River of Glass is the first in series of books about Rae Sinclair, a teenage girl from a small town in upstate New York who discovers that her family history isn't what she thought it was, and the people closest to her aren't at all what they seemed. Before long, she finds herself on a mission to stop a mysterious thief who is stealing ancient glass artifacts from sites around the world -- objects that, when reunited as a group, may have the power to alter time and space. This fantasy/time-travel series takes readers on thrilling adventures through world history, art, archeology, technology, and most of all, the fascinating art and baffling science of glass.

Other Published Works

Search, Literary Cavalcade and Scope magazines. Created more than 20 original plays and theatrical adaptations of literary classics for young audiences for all three magazines, published by Scholastic Inc. between 1992 to 2000.

The Miami Herald.  General assignment reporter at this Pulitzer Prize-winning South Florida daily newspaper from 1984 to 1988, covering crime, local politics, courts, environmental issues, the arts and education.

Agent: Peter Rubie, CEO, Fine Print Literary Management, NYC