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August Wilson

by Academy of Achievement

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The pre-eminent playwright of his era, August Wilson (1945-2005) was the author of a monumental cycle of ten dramas, chronicling African American life in the 20th century, with each play set in a different decade. Born in Pittsburgh to a German immigrant father and an African American mother, Wilson grew up in the impoverished Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He dropped out of school after ninth grade and educated himself in the public library, supporting himself as short-order cook while struggling to find his voice as a writer. The first of his plays to win national attention was "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." An enormous success on Broadway in 1984, it was followed by "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson," both of which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. August Wilson died shortly after completing "Radio Golf," the last play in the series. It took more than 20 years for Wilson to complete his cycle of plays; they stand as an achievement without parallel in American drama.

August Wilson
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  • Category: Fiction
  • Language: English

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