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Playwright, MacArthur “Genius” Suzan-Lori Parks to Give Tolles Lecture


Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks, one of the most acclaimed playwrights in contemporary American drama, will give the Winton J. Tolles Lecture at Hamilton on Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m., in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

Parks received a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 2001, and is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. She was among Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next Wave,” and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts. 

Parks’ project 365 Days/365 Plays (where she wrote a play a day for an entire year) was produced in more than 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history.

Her other grants and awards include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Parks also received a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant. 

Among Parks’ other plays are Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize winner) and In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist).  Her adaptation of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Her newest plays, Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)—set during the Civil War—were awarded the Horton Foote Prize, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, and were finalists for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize.

The Tolles Lecture Series, established by Hamilton’s class of 1951, brings writers from literature, journalism, and theater to speak at Hamilton.

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