First African-American Woman to Win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama to Speak at the U


Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, will speak at Kingsbury Hall on Feb. 24.

As part of the Tanner Humanities Center’s David P. Gardner lecture series, Parks, a playwright, screenwriter, novelist and musician, will talk, read from her work and engage the audience in a sing-along. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.

Parks’ list of accolades is lengthy — she was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Grant” and was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She is most well known for her play “Topdog/Underdog,” which won her the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and was made into a PBS series. Parks also wrote “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, 3),” for which she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Awards nominee.

In her lecture, Parks won’t only speak about her works but will also address current social issues facing the United States, particularly those surrounding race.

“It will be an awareness effort,” said John Boyack, spokesperson for the Tanner Humanities Center. “She will be bringing to light things we don’t consider or think about.”

Parks is also the center’s 2016 artist-in-residence, each of whom are expected to perform on campus and workshop with students.

Haley Nowicki, a junior in theatre, plans to go to the event.

“[Parks] creates some very important conversations regarding race and its role in history,” she said. “I think just being aware of her works is what would help me become a better designer within the world of theatre.”

Representatives from the King’s English bookstore will sell copies of Parks’ books at the event. Tickets are required to attend the lecture. Students can reserve up to four for free by visiting the website:

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