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Shelle Sumners

Suzan-Lori Parks is one of a small handful of African American women, among them Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange, who have achieved professional success as playwrights in American theater. She was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, but because her father was a colonel in the U.S. Army, she lived in several states and attended junior high school in Germany. Parks began writing at an early age, with little thought to becoming a playwright. During her undergraduate studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Parks took a creative writing class taught by African American novelist James Baldwin She read her character laden stories aloud in his class with a theatricality that prompted Baldwin to suggest that she try writing for the theater In describing her creative potential he called Parks an utterly astounding and beautiful creature who may become one of the most valuable artists of ...


Harry Elam

playwright, was born at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to Francis McMillan, an educator, and Donald Parks, an army officer and, later, professor. From her parents Parks gained cultural exposure, a love for literature, and an understanding of the value in education. Her ability as a writer surfaced early on, and she began writing stories at age five. With her father in the army, Parks spent her childhood years in a variety of different locales, including six American states and West Germany. Rather than the traditional American schools attended by the children of most servicemen, Parks attended a German high school.

Parks then entered Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1985 with a BA in English and German. While at Mount Holyoke, she studied creative writing with the celebrated writer James Baldwin Impressed with her ability as well as ...


Hilary Mac Austin

Parks was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, one of only a handful of black women playwrights to make it to the Broadway stage, and one of the only African American avant-garde playwrights in history. Her plays were nonlinear, nonrealistic, poetic, challenging, and often controversial.

Born in Fort Knox, Kentucky Parks began writing stories almost as soon as she could hold a pencil An army brat whose father was a colonel in the U S Army she had lived in six different states by the time she was a teenager When the family was posted to Germany Parks experienced for the first time life outside of America s prism of race In Germany she was regarded as an American a foreigner first and a black person second Because her parents decided to place their daughter in the local German school rather than in ...


Biodun Jeyifo

Nigerian writer and the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta Nigeria One of the most prominent writers and public intellectuals in the world his international fame rests as much on his writings as on his widely admired fearless advocacy of human rights and social justice both in his native Nigeria and in other countries in Africa Primarily a playwright and dramatist Soyinka has written in virtually all of the literary genres and he has written rather prodigiously his corpus comprising more than forty five works of drama fiction poetry translation and nonfictional criticism memoirs and philosophical reflection Now in the eighth decade of his life he has spent six of those decades in a sustained unbroken work of social activism that stands as a necessary complement to the primacy of his life and career as ...