About Patti

Patti Hartigan is an award-winning journalist with a national reputation for her insight and expertise in theater. She began her long career at the Boston Globe in 1987. That year, she received a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts to attend the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Conn., where she met August Wilson for the first time. She interviewed him many times over the years and wrote one of the last magazine pieces about him before he died in 2005. Her experience at the O’Neill gave her a unique connection to actors, directors, and playwrights who worked in Wilson’s orbit, which proved invaluable while researching August Wilson: A Life. 

In her long tenure as a staff member for the Globe, she served as arts reporter, drama critic, cultural columnist, and cyber-culture reporter during the early days of the Internet. She has profiled the major American playwrights, ranging from Edward Albee to Howard Zinn. She launched her career during the “Cultural Wars” of the early 1990s, when she covered the arts as hard news, chronicling the controversy over the National Endowment for the Arts. She also co-authored the 1991 award-winning page-one series, “The Fine Arts: A World without Color,” which exposed an entrenched pattern of exclusion at the nation’s fine arts institutions. 

In 1994, she was an inaugural fellow in the Pew Charitable Trust National Arts Journalism Program and spent a year researching urban arts organizations while in residence at the University of Southern California. She taught theater to amazing youngsters in South Los Angeles and painted murals with young street artists. 

A mother of three, she has also written extensively about education and won the Education Writers’ Association award for Beat Reporting. She was also a contributing editor at Boston Magazine, where she wrote long-form narratives about controversial and contemporary issues in the arts. 

She currently divides her time between Charlottesville, VA, and the Boston area, where she raised her three amazing children, now all in college. She is also a proud companion to two waggish Labradoodles, Toast and her brother Blue. (There is a dog named Blue in a song in Fences). 

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© Patti Hartigan