An attorney-turned-English professor and poet, McDermott’s background as an advocate for abused women and children and her study of literature play an intricate role in her humanistic and literary writing style, the agency said. Her Nicholl-winning drama Lullabies of la Jaula exposes the cruelty of U.S. Immigration’s Family Separation Policy by tracing the journey of a vulnerable Mexican girl. Separated from her family during a desperate border crossing and held in a cage for migrant children, 14-year-old Dalia is determined to reunite with her mother. Throughout her ordeal, she finds inspiration in her only possession: a book of poetry by the imprisoned Spanish revolutionary Miguel Hernandez.
Lullabies of la Jaula also was a semifinalist in the 2019 Showtime/Tony Cox Screenwriting Competition, won Best Screenplay at the 2019 Alliance for Women Filmmakers competition and was a finalist at the 2019 Oaxaca Filmfest Script Challenge.
McDermott also teaches composition and screenwriting at California State University, Los Angeles.