Suzan-Lori Parks (May 10, 1963 - ..)
Born: 10th May, 1963
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Playwright
Region: Fort Knox, Kentucky, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Topdog/Underdog", "The America Play", "The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World", "Venus", "365 Days/365 Plays", "Getting Mother's Body", "Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 &
Notable works: Pulitzer Prize

Suzan-Lori Parks Facts

Biography

Suzan-Lori Parks, originally spelled Susan-Lori Parks, (born May 10, 1963, Fort Knox, Kentucky, U.S.), American playwright who was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama (for Topdog/Underdog).

Parks, who was writing stories at age five, had a peripatetic childhood as the daughter of a military officer. She attended Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts (B.A. [cum laude], 1985), where James Baldwin, who taught a writing class there, encouraged her to try playwriting. She wrote her first play, The Sinner's Place (produced 1984), while still in school. She won Obie Awards for her third play, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (produced 1989), and for her eighth, Venus (produced 1996), about a South African Khoisan woman taken to England as a sideshow attraction. With Topdog/Underdog (produced 2001), Parks evoked the complexities of the African American experience through the fraught relationship between two brothers. In 2002 the play became her first to be staged on Broadway, and it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Parks's other plays included The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (produced 1990); The America Play (produced 1994), about a man obsessed with Abraham Lincoln; In the Blood (produced 1999), which updates Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter; and The Book of Grace (produced 2010), a biblically inflected examination of the familial relations of a racist patriarch. In 2006-07 Parks oversaw a project that coordinated performances across the United States of the plays she had written one per day over the course of a year, in 2002-03 (collected as 365 Days/365 Plays [2006]).

Parks later adapted the book of George and Ira Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess for a musical theatre production that premiered on Broadway in 2012. Another critically acclaimed play, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (produced 2014), was based on Homer's Odyssey and set during the American Civil War. It contained the first three segments of a projected nine-part epic drama. Race and friendship are explored in White Noise (produced 2019), in which a struggling African American artist and victim of police brutality asks his white friend to buy him as his personal slave, for 40 days.

Parks wrote radio plays (Pickling [1990]), screenplays (Girl 6 [1996] and Native Son [2019], based on Richard Wright's novel), and teleplays (Their Eyes Were Watching God [2005], an adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's novel). Parks's first novel, Getting Mother's Body, was published in 2003.

Her writing has been praised for its wild poetry, its irreverence, its humour, and its concurrent profundity. She received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 2001 and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2015. Three years later she won the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.

Top 19 Suzan-Lori Parks quotes

Every play I write is about love and distance. And time. And from that we can get things like history.
About
Distance
Every
Get
History
I write
Like
Love
Play
Things
Time
Write
Someone yelled at me once, 'You never write about yourself.' People used to get so mad at me for that. But my definition of myself is completely up for grabs. I'm everywhere, just like we all are.
About
Definition
Everywhere
Get
Just
Like
Mad
Me
Myself
Never
Once
People
Someone
Up
I love my lecture tours. I get up onstage. I have my stack of books and a glass of water and a microphone. No podium, no distance between me and the audience, and I just talk to people and get all excited and tell a lot of jokes, and sing some songs, and read from my work and remind people how powerful they are and how beautiful they are.
Audience
Beautiful
Between
Books
Distance
Excited
Get
Glass
How
I love
Jokes
Just
Lecture
Lot
The writer has two kinds of faith: actual writing and sitting openly. Have faith in your personal effort or sweat. And faith in God, or whatever you want to call it. Then the voices will come. Faith is the big deal.
Actual
Big
Big deal
Call
Come
Deal
Effort
Faith
God
Kinds
Openly
Personal
Sitting
Sweat
I don't care what anybody says. Stick to the spirit of the play and you're doing it right. It's about embracing the spirit of the text instead of noodling some idea about things.
About
Anybody
Care
Doing
Embracing
Idea
Instead
Play
Right
Says
Some
Spirit
Stick
Text
Everything I write doesn't appear to be biography until later. I often say that I've never written about anything I've experienced. Of course, that's not true. But it doesn't appear familiar to me at all. And maybe that's because I have to be in a kind of coma in order to write. If it appeared familiar, I wouldn't.
About
Anything
Appear
Appeared
Because
Biography
Course
Everything
Experienced
Familiar
I write
Kind
Later
Maybe
My plays aren't stylistically the same. Just being an African-American woman playwright on Broadway is experimental.
African-american
Being
Broadway
Experimental
Just
Plays
Playwright
Same
Woman
I like to give and get basically anything (I love to read) but especially fiction and poetry.
Anything
Basically
Fiction
Get
Give
I love
Like
Love
Poetry
Read
I love beautiful black-and-white movies - anything Bette Davis, especially 'Now', 'Voyager', 'Casablanca', 'Mildred Pierce'; anything by Orson Welles, Truffaut, or Godard; and 'Paper Moon' by Peter Bogdanovich.
Anything
Beautiful
Bette
Bette davis
Casablanca
Davis
I love
Love
Moon
Movies
Now
Orson welles
Paper
Peter
One could get locked in by the Pulitzer, thinking, 'This is who I am.' Doors open with it, but doors in your mind could close.
Am
Close
Could
Doors
Get
I am
Locked
Mind
Open
Pulitzer
Thinking
Who
Your
The writing of 'Topdog' was a great gift. I feel the play came to me because I realized that my circumstances, while causing me despair and heartbreak, also held great possibility, if only I could see it.
Also
Because
Came
Causing
Circumstances
Could
Despair
Feel
Gift
Great
Great gift
Heartbreak
Held
I feel
Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.
Each
Growth
Holds
Moment
Perfect
Seeds
Difficulty creates the opportunity for self-reflection and compassion.
Compassion
Creates
Difficulty
Opportunity
I learned that if we embrace what's happening, we are also embracing what is possible - and a road opens up for God to meet us halfway.
Also
Embrace
Embracing
God
Halfway
Happening
Learned
Meet
Opens
Possible
Road
Up
Us
I don't consciously start writing a play that involves issues. After it's done, I sit back like everyone else and think about what it means.
About
After
Back
Done
Else
Everyone
Everyone else
Involves
Issues
Like
Means
Play
Sit
Start
I don't read reviews. I refuse to have my ego inflated or deflated by someone I don't know.
Ego
Inflated
Know
Read
Refuse
Reviews
Someone
My plays are for the kind of black people who relate to funk music, to Parliament-Funkadelic. When those guys get out of a spaceship - the idea that black people are from outer space, there's a poetic truth to that. We are this vast people.
Black
Funk
Get
Guys
Idea
Kind
Music
Out
Outer
Outer space
People
Plays
Poetic
Relate
Being a playwright of any race is difficult, and Lord knows it gets more difficult the further you get from the middle of the road. I don't know what kind of magic my mojo is working, but it's working.
Any
Being
Difficult
Further
Get
Gets
Kind
Know
Knows
Lord
Magic
Middle
Mojo
More
My father was in the Army and we moved around a lot, and one of my favorite places was the library.
Army
Around
Father
Favorite
Favorite places
Library
Lot
Moved
Places

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