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Derek’s writing honors, residencies and awards include: commissions from UCLA (It Goes Unsaid) and Freedomtrain Productions (Bring the Beat Back); grants and awards from the Jerome Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom. His work has been presented/supported by The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), UCLA, Harlem Stage, The National Black Theatre, the Bowery Poetry Club, Harlem9, Horse Trade Theater Group, Brooklyn's Jack Theater, and The Fire This Time Festival, with two plays published by Indie Theater Now.

Derek’s writing portfolio - three sitcom specs and an original sci-fi pilot - have led to semifinalist placement in the 2015 Disney Writing Program (top 50 out of 4,000), a nomination for the 2014 Fox Writing Program, a slot in the 2013 Disney-ABC Diversity Impact Workshop, and a 2012 Fellowship in the Guy Hanks and Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program at USC, and an active slate of ghost writing and co-writing assignments in features, tv and online programming. 

He wrote and co-produced an indie web series, She’s Out of Order, with his collaborators at Under the Spell Productions, Inc.  Premiering in 2013, the show attracted a distribution deal with OnlineMoviesBox, coverage in Indiewire’s Shadow and Act, and was an official selection for LA Webfest 2015, with a nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress category and winning the award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.  

For several years, he worked at Harlem's Apollo Theater, developing new arts and entertainment programs as he built his writing portfolio. He holds a BA from Morehouse College and an MA from NYU. Derek is originally from Pickerington, Ohio. He has lived in Atlanta, GA and Osaka Japan, and currently splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

Photos of Derek Lee McPhatter: Credit: Terri Braithwaite.