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African American Women Writers

Suzan-Lori Parks (1963– ). A playwright, novelist, and screenwriter and the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Parks has been celebrated by her fellow playwright August Wilson as “an original” whose “fierce intelligence and fearless approach to craft subvert theatrical conventions and produce a mature and inimitable art that is as exciting as it is fresh.” A Kentucky native, Parks grew up in a military family. Her father, a career Army officer, was stationed in West Germany, where Parks attended middle school and a German high school. Parks has said that the experience showed her “what it feels like to be neither white nor black, but simply foreign.” Returning to the United States, Parks lived and attended school in Kentucky, Texas, California, North Carolina, Maryland, and Vermont before going to Mount Holyoke College, earning her degree in English literature and German in 1985. She studied with writer James Baldwin, who encouraged her to become a playwright and who said that she “may become one of the most valuable artists of our time.”*

Genre: Domestic fiction; Historical fiction

More about Suzan-Lori Parks at ProQuest One Literature


*Suzan Lori Parks (1963--). (2020). In D. G. Felder, The American women's almanac: 500 years of making history. Visible Ink Press. Credo Reference.

By Suzan-Lori Parks

About Suzan-Lori Parks