28 Days of Black Writers - August Wilson

Famed playwright August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He wrote his first play, Jitney, in 1979. Fences earned him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1987. Wilson won another Pulitzer Prize in 1990, for The Piano Lesson. In 1996, Seven Guitars premiered on the Broadway stage, followed by King Hedley II in 2001 and Gem of the Ocean in 2004. Wilson died on October 2, 2005, in Seattle, Washington.

August Wilson wrote his first notable play in 1979, Jitney, for which he earned a fellowship at the Minneapolis Playwright Center.

In 1981, Wilson married Judy Oliver. The following year, his new play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, was accepted at the Eugene O'Neill Playwright's Conference. The year 1982 was particularly fruitful for Wilson, as it marked his introduction to Lloyd Richards, who went on to direct Wilson's first six Broadway plays.

Wilson's play Fences premiered on Broadway in 1987, earning the playwright his first Pulitzer Prize as well as a Tony Award. Joe Turner opened on Broadway in 1988.

Wilson divorced Judy Oliver in 1990. He took home another Pulitzer Prize that same year, this time for The Piano Lesson, following its Broadway premiere.

A collection of Wilson's work, entitled Three Plays by August Wilson, was published in book form in 1991. The following year brought the Broadway premiere of Two Trains Running.

In 1994, Wilson married for the third time, to a costume designer named Constanza Romero. Seven Guitars made its way to the Broadway stage two years later, followed by the birth of Wilson's and Romero's daughter, Azula, in 1997.

King Hedley II made its Broadway debut in 2001, and Gem of the Ocean premiered in Chicago roughly a year later. In 2003, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was revived on Broadway. Gem of the Ocean premiered on Broadway in 2004, where it made a run of 72 performances. (via Biography.com)