Award-winning Playwright Willy Conley to Present at Kent State | e-Inside | Kent State University

Award-winning Playwright Willy Conley to Present at Kent State

By Hanna Moore

Willy Conley, referred to as “perhaps the most widely known deaf playwright in the world,” will hold several events at Kent State University to present his debut novel, The Deaf Heart.

Conley is an award-winning playwright, actor and photographer who has worked in some of the top medical centers in the country. The Deaf Heart draws on Conley’s experience as a professional biomedical photographer, while overcoming obstacles and prejudice.

He will be at the Kent Campus and at Kent State University at Trumbull on Thursday, Feb. 18, through Saturday, Feb. 20, to promote his book. This event is sponsored and/or supported by Kent State’s School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, the Department of English, Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, members of the American Sign Language program and Kent State Trumbull.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Photography Exhibit Reception

The reception will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18, from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Link Art Gallery at Kent State Trumbull. The event is titled “Human Sign Language” by Conley, and it focuses on symbols or written language on signs in the American landscape and how Conley has benefited from them.  

Two Book Presentations, Two Locations

Conley will hold two presentations of his debut novel, The Deaf Heart. The book gives a glimpse into the life of Max, a deaf character whose goal is to become a professional biomedical photographer. The book readings are Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Satterfield Hall Room 122 on the Kent Campus and Friday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. in Room 202 (Lecture Hall A) at Kent State Trumbull.

Workshop: Get Arty with American Sign Language — Creative Explorations into ASL

Conley will use his background as an actor, stage director, sign master and playwright to hold a workshop that encourages signers to explore imaginative uses of American Sign Language for storytelling or stage performance. This event will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Student Union at Kent State Trumbull.

All events are free and open to the general public. For more information, visit