A Life

P. Carl is the author of the memoir, Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition (Simon & Schuster, 2020), which Publishers Weekly described as  “moving and captivating.” A section of the book was excerpted and featured in The New York Times Magazine. He is the  Distinguished Artist in Residence, Department of Performing Arts, at Emerson College in Boston and is the Anschutz Fellow at Princeton University for Spring 2020. He was awarded a 2017 Art of Change Fellowship from the Ford Foundation, the Berlin Prize fellowship from the American Academy for the Fall of 2018, and the Andrew W. Mellon Creative Research Residency at the University of Washington. His work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Lit Hub. He is currently working on the stage adaptation of Becoming a Man, commissioned by American Repertory Theater, Diane Paulus directing. 

His most recent work as a dramaturg includes Claudia Rankine’s The White Card. He is the co-founder of Howlround, a free and open platform for theater-makers worldwide that amplifies progressive ideas about the art form and  facilitates connection between diverse practitioners.

Operating from the core belief that theater is for everyone, Carl seeks to use the power of live performance in concert with opportunities for international dialogue and activism to foster personal and political transformation through the shared experience of art. Discussing the founding of Howlround, Carl notes: "When you open the door, when you say anyone’s welcome, a lot of people who haven't felt welcome come through.”

In an interview with WBUR in Boston, Carl reflected on his career in theatre: “I think you could see, in my career, a commitment to social justice and activism. … The questions of equity and inclusion — those questions are the ‘whys’ of theater. In the career I've put together, I've not lost any of those passions."

Carl received a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a Masters in Peace Studies from Notre Dame, and holds a PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota. He  Born in Elkhart, Indiana, he now lives in Boston with his spouse, the writer Lynette D'Amico, and their dogs Lenny Obama and Sonny. 



As a trans person, I spent most of my life with my head in a book imagining other lives, other bodies, and other histories. My memoir is an amalgamation of all the books that kept me curious, kept me thinking it was worth it to keep going. Sometimes it was to dream myself a cowboy on the open prairie, sometimes a soldier with a rifle as tall as me, sometimes a priest giving other men hope of a God on the other side. But reading wasn’t just about imagining myself as man, it was about imagining, period—a way of holding myself together until the day I could feel myself as a body alive in the world.


An Incomplete List of Books that Saved Me:

 The Brothers Karamazov,  Great Expectations, Citizen: An American Lyric, The Warmth of Other Suns, Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West, Sexing the Cherry, On Beauty and Being Just, The Motion of Light in Water, The Hours, A Room of One's Own and To the Lighthouse, Middlemarch, How We Became Human, Love Medicine, A Farewell to Arms, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Moby Dick, Gender Trouble, The Grapes of Warth, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Beloved, The Savage Detectives, Go, Went, Gone, My Name is Lucy Barton, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Against Interpretation, White Teeth, The New Jim Crow, Road Trip, Illuminations, The Lord of the Rings, Jesus’ Son, Angels in America, Bluets, Open City, The Sixth Extinction