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NASW Communications Network Advisory Committee: Antwone Fisher

Antwone Fisher

Today, we know Antwone Fisher as an award-winning film and literary writer. However, his life did not begin with such promise…

Born Antwone Quenton Fisher in an Ohio prison to a teenaged mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care immediately. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but when Social Services deemed that his foster mother had become too attached to Antwone — coupled with his father having been murdered and determining a reunion with his birth mother would be too difficult for him — Antwone was placed in another foster home. Unfortunately, he would suffer twelve years of abuse at the hands of this new foster family.

At age 14, when Antwone stood up to his foster mother’s malevolence, she threw him out. Social services sent him to a reform school. However, when he was emancipated out of the school at 17, he found himself homeless.

However, he survived foster care’s cruelties and the brutalities of homelessness by setting on a course of healing when he joined the United States Navy where he served this country for eleven years, and became fluent in Japanese.

After the Navy, Antwone’s path to his current career began with a less glamorous job as a Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and after three years he took a job as a security officer at Sony Pictures… However, it was there upon hearing about his interest in writing that someone referred Antwone to a free screenwriting course. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Antwone has now worked in Hollywood for sixteen years as a writer and producer, with an impressive fourteen writing projects with the major studios.

Among those projects is a feature classic, Antwone Fisher (Fox Searchlight), directed by and starring Oscar®-winning actor, Denzel Washington and written by Antwone based on his life. Antwone, the film and cast garnered quite a few nominations and awards. Antwone individually received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), and a Best Original Screenplay nomination for the Writers Guild of America Award. Antwone was also listed in Variety’s “Fifty People in Hollywood To Watch” and Fade In Magazine’s “Top 100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know”.
Antwone also took the literary world by storm with his first book, Finding Fish: a Memoir (William Morrow), about his inspiring story that became a New York Times bestseller. Unable to fully cover everything in a screenplay (and therefore the film), Antwone decided to write Finding Fish to not only expand on his incredible life’s journey, but divulge other dark chapters he had to overcome in his life.

He followed Finding Fish with his compelling collection of poetry entitled, Who Will Cry For The Little Boy? (William Morrow), that became a National Best Seller. Through the book’s poetry Antwone creatively discloses the inner truths of the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is now. Today, Who Will Cry… is considered one of the all time best-selling books of poetry. In addition, Antwone’s work of poetry is featured in revered poet, Nikki Giovanni’s book for children, Hip Hop Speaks to Children.

Due to the breadth of his life and career, Antwone’s has received other accolades including: the National Angel in Adoption Award and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Cleveland State University. Antwone was conferred the honorary degree for his professional achievements as an author, producer, poet and screenwriter, his loyalty to his community, his personal triumphs and his indomitable spirit of never giving up…

Antwone is now entering the theatre world with his new stage project, Finding Fish: a Play. Based on his New York Times bestseller, this one act stage adaption written by Antwone, not only probes further into the bleak depths of Antwone’s early life, but discloses stories not addressed in the film. The structure is a verbal and emotional parry between Antwone and Commander Williams, the Navy psychologist Antwone had to see to determine if he was fit for the Navy, after yet another fight with a fellow sailor. What unfolds is a story that ranges from dramatic to humorous to heartbreaking, but in the end, is triumphant…

Antwone directed and produced the play in a sold-out special benefit presentation at the acclaimed Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, with captivating performances by Isaiah Washington (as “Antwone”) and Keith David (as “Commander Williams”). Antwone was honored to have a multi-generational and multi-cultural audience, that also gave the play a standing ovation.

In addition to securing the next production of Finding Fish: a Play, Antwone’s current screenwriting project is Training Day 2 (Warner Bros.). Antwone recently made his film directing debut with his short film, “My Summer Friend”, presently on the film festival circuit (mysummerfriendmovie.com). Antwone also teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country’s largest continuing education writing program. Antwone’s current book is A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie And Other Lessons For Succeeding In Life, already in it’s third printing, Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Fireside.

Today, Antwone has a loving family of his own with wife, LaNette and their two beautiful daughters, Indigo and Azure.

About how far he has come, Antwone stated, “I think back upon a childhood full of longing for belonging, and see my life now as what I have created out of my dreams. An image comes to mind of Mrs. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, me sitting at her side, telling her, “You’ll read about me someday.” I was definitely dreaming then… With no evidence of that ever being possible, I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous, but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. So I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself… as somebody.”

Antwone no longer needs to imagine…

Biography and photo courtesy of antwonefisher.net.

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