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Parks, Suzan-Lori  

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 ...

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Parks, Suzan-Lori  

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 ...

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Soyinka, Wole  

Ketu Katrak

When awarding the prize the Nobel committee described Wole Soyinka the creator of over twenty major works at that time as one of the finest poetical playwrights that have written in English and also remarked that his writing was full of life and urgency Soyinka pronounced Sho yin ka is the recipient of numerous other prestigious awards including several honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world Apart from his stature as a pioneer in African drama written in English Soyinka has produced a vast body of work as poet dramatist theater director novelist essayist autobiographer political commentator critic and theorist of art and culture Above all he has remained a responsible citizen committed to the values of human freedom truth and justice Social commitment he remarks is a citizen s commitment and embraces equally the carpenter the mason the banker the farmer the customs officer etc not forgetting the critic ...

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Soyinka, Wole  

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 ...