Cook, Michael

Michael Cook, playwright (b at London, Eng 14 Feb 1933; d at St John's 2 July 1994). Cook spent 12 years in the British army and earned a teaching degree at Nottingham University before immigrating to Newfoundland in 1966. First in St John's and later from the isolation of Random Island he wrote a series of powerful plays about his adopted home, describing Newfoundlanders' struggles with history and environment and chronicling the disintegration of their unique language and culture. Among his historical dramas are Colour the Flesh the Colour of Dust (1971), On the Rim of the Curve (1977) and The Gayden Chronicles (1980). His major plays of contemporary Newfoundland, The Head, Guts and Soundbone Dance (1973) and Jacob's Wake (1974), offer jaundiced views of the fate of the traditional fishing and sealing economies under the pressures of the modern age. Cook was also a prolific radio dramatist. He taught English for many years at Memorial University and in 1987 he was playwright-in-residence at Stratford Festival.