Illustration by Maria Manhattan
August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945 and grew up in the Hill district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His childhood experiences in this particular community and the visual artwork of Romare Bearden (1914-1988) have informed much of his creative work as a poet and playwright. His authentic characters convey an African-American experience of richness, depth, and poignancy to his audience. Wilson is a prolific writer who has been called one of the most important voices in American theater. He has won dozens of awards, including a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, 1984 and Pulitzer Prizes for best drama—Fences, 1985 and The Piano Lesson, 1987.