For more than 25 years, Upson County native, minister, writer and actor Dwain Penn has traveled through the southeast and Midwest as a successful dramatist, creating and performing 16 portrayals, from prominent Biblical figures to historic and literary characters. This summer, Penn released his newest book, ‘The Complete Gospeler,’ a collection of monologues from his ministry.
Dwain W. Penn, the youngest child of George and Grace Cox Penn, was born and raised in Upson County. He graduated in 1973 from R. E. Lee in Thomaston, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in architecture, with high honors, in 1978 from Southern Tech in Marietta. He worked for more than a decade for the Macon city traffic engineering department before leaving to enter fulltime ministry.
In 1998 Penn was called to serve as Pastor for New Hebron Baptist Church in Pike County. He continues to fill that monthly pulpit, and helped the church obtain its National Register status this year. He is a member of the Pike County Ministerial Association and the Upson County Ministerial Association.
Penn presented his first monologue, of the Apostle Paul, in 1988. By 2009, Penn’s repertoire had grown to 16 portrayals. In order of their appearance, they are Paul, Abraham, Jesus, Isaiah, David, St. Nicholas, Lincoln, Rev. Dubois, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Wesley, Scrooge, Beethoven, Wm. Penn, Churchill, Luther and R.E. Lee.
Of the 16 portrayals, all but four premiered in Pike County at various churches. In 27 years, Penn fulfilled 198 engagements at 25 churches and 18 other venues in Upson County alone, and his 500th performance was attained in 2013.
In 1998, the Penn Publishing Press was created to market Penn’s books (over 25) and more than a dozen books for other local writers. The idea to publish the collection of his monologues came from fellow author, Ann W. Yearwood, of Pike County.
‘The Complete Gospeler’ is in limited release, with only a few books remaining. Call Penn at 770-567-4113 to order a book at a cost of only $10 plus shipping (if necessary).
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.