August Wilson (né Frederick August Kittel Jr.; April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) was an American playwright. He has been referred to as the "theater's poet of Black America". He is best known for a series of ten plays, collectively called The Pittsburgh Cycle (or The Century Cycle), which chronicle the experiences and heritage of the African-American community in the 20th century. Plays in the series include Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990), both of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984) and Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1988). In 2006, Wilson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
|Born||Frederick August Kittel Jr.|
April 27, 1945
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||October 2, 2005 60) (aged|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Resting place||Greenwood Cemetery (Pittsburgh)|
|Notable awards||Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1987, 1990)|
Whiting Award (1986)
Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities (2004)
(m. 1969; div. 1972)
(m. 1981; div. 1990)
His works delve into the African-American experience as well as examinations of the human condition. Other themes range from the systemic and historical exploitation of African Americans, as well as race relations, identity, migration, and racial discrimination. Viola Davis said that Wilson's writing "captures our humor, our vulnerabilities, our tragedies, our trauma. And he humanizes us. And he allows us to talk." Since Wilson's death two of his plays have been adapted into films: Fences (2016) and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020). Denzel Washington has shepherded the films and has vowed to continue Wilson's legacy by adapting the rest of his plays into films for a wider audience. Washington said, "the greatest part of what's left of my career is making sure that August is taken care of".
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