Award-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks to give annual Maynard Mack Lecture

Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks (Photo credit: Stephanie Diani)

Suzan-Lori Parks, who was recently named as a 2018 Windham Campbell Prize-winner and whose play “Father Comes home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3” is currently in production at the Yale Repertory Theatre (through April 7), will deliver the 27th annual Maynard Mack Lecture on Tuesday, April 3.

Parks will take part in a conversation with Liz Diamond, who is directing the play at the Yale Rep as a co-production with American Conservatory Theater. The lecture, endowed through the Elizabethan Club in association with the Yale School of Drama, will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the University Theatre, 222 York St. The talk is free and open to the public.

Named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave” in 2002, Parks became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hit “Topdog/Underdog.” A winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2001 and the Gish Prize in 2015, she has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3” had its world premiere at The Public Theater and has also been staged at American Repertory Theater and Center Theatre Group. The play was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was awarded the 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, as well as the 2014 Horton Foote Prize.

Parks’ work on “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” was honored with the 2012 Tony Award. Her numerous plays include “The Book of Grace,” “In the Blood” (a 2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), “Venus” (winner of a 1996 OBIE Award),365 Days/365 Plays,” and “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World”, among others. Parks’ novel “Getting Mother’s Body” was published by Random House. Her screenplays include “Girl 6,” written for Spike Lee, as well as works for Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, and Jodie Foster. Her adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” premiered on ABC’s “Oprah Winfrey Presents.” Parks is currently writing an adaptation of the film “The Harder They Come” for a live stage musical. Parks holds the Master Writer Chair at The Public Theater, and serves as a professor in dramatic writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The Elizabethan Club administers the Maynard Mack Lecture, which brings to Yale every year a distinguished theatre practitioner to speak on a topic of his or her choice. The lectureship honors the late Maynard Mack, who was Sterling Professor of English at Yale, chair of the English department, and an eminent scholar and critic of Shakespeare and Pope.

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