Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but was subsequently moved and suffered twelve years of abuse at the hands of his new foster family. Please inquire about Antwone's speaking fees
Lessons for Succeeding in Life
Unable to locate a new placement for him, at age 14, Antwone was sent to a reform school in western Pennsylvania were he remained until he graduated high school at 17. Emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone and homeless, living on the streets of Cleveland.
Antwone Fisher is a classic example of how anyone can overcome diversity and obstacles to become one of the most respected and giving people in the world.
Baby Boy Fisher–as he was documented in his child welfare caseworkers’ reports–was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. After beginning his life in an orphanage, Antwone was placed in a temporary foster home until, around age two, he was transferred to a second foster home. It was there, over the next thirteen years, that he endured emotional abandonment and physical abuse. Removed from this foster home not long before his sixteenth birthday, Antwone found fleeting refuge in a boys’ reform school but was soon thrust into the nightmare of homelessness.
Though convinced he was unwanted and unworthy, Fish, as he came to be known, refused to allow his spirit to be broken. Instead, he became determined to raise himself, to listen to social workers and teachers who intervened on his behalf, and to nurture a romantic heart along with a scathing sense of humor and a wondrous imagination–all of which sustained him with big dreams of a better day. Fatefully, just as Antwone’s life on the streets hit rock bottom, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he remained for the next eleven years. During that time, Fish became a man of the world, raised by the Navy family he created for himself.
Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born–first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who would eventually become one of Hollywood’s most well-paid, sought-after screenwriters. But before he ascends those lofty steps, Antwone’s story takes us from the Navy to his jobs as a federal correctional officer and then a security guard at Sony Pictures in Hollywood. In its climactic conclusion, the mystery of his identity is finally unraveled as Antwone returns to Cleveland to locate his mother’s and father’s surviving family members.
Antwone set on a course of healing when he joined the U.S. Navy where he served his country for eleven years. After his honorable discharge from the military, Antwone became a Federal Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and, after three years of service, he took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a Security Officer. It was at Sony Pictures that Antwone was referred to a free screenwriting course.
Antwone has worked in Hollywood for 20 years as a writer and producer, with an impressive fourteen writing projects or assignments with the major studios. Among those projects is the feature classic, “Antwone Fisher,” directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, written by Antwone and based on his own life. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards. Antwone received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, and was listed in Variety’s “Fifty People to Watch.”
Antwone’s first book, “Finding Fish: a memoir,” about his inspiring story, became a New York Times best seller. His collection of poetry, “Who Will Cry For The Little Boy?” a national best seller, creatively disclosed the road from his tumultuous childhood to the man he is today. Antwone’s poetry is featured in Nikki Giovanni’s book for children, “Hip Hop Speaks to Children.” His third book, “A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie And Other Lessons For Succeeding In Life,” won the award for Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional from the 2011 NAACP Awards and is in its third printing.
Antwone continues as a prolific writer with his stage project, “Antwone Fisher: A Play.” On of his screenwriting projects is “Training Day 2.” Antwone made his film directing debut with the award-winning short film, “My Summer Friend,” and produced, wrote, and directed the 2013 documentary, “ThIs Life of Mine.” Antwone teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the country’s largest continuing education writing program.
About how far he has come, Antwone states, “I think back on 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.”
Leadership and Management
How to Tie a Tie: And Other Lessons For Succeeding in Life
Getting In and Staying In the Film Business
Foster Care and Adoption
The Making of Antwone Fisher
Skype in the Classroom