In 1989, The New York Times
named her "The year's most promising new playwright
." In 2001, she recieved the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award
, and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize
for Drama for her play "Topdog/Underdog
". This plawrighter who draws inspiration from sources as varied as Greek Myths to three-card monte is the legendary Suzan-Lori Parks.
Born in Kentucky, Suzan-Lori's father was in the military, so much of her childhood was spent as an army brat, living across the United States and attending high school in Germany. She describes her parents as being strict, causing her to become a "doormat". When she began writing in high school, she was ridiculed by others because of the poor spelling in her writing. However, she wasn't discouraged.
She continued writing through college, attending Yale University and Mount Holyoke, where she had a creative writing class with James Baldwin. Baldwin encouraged her to take up playwriting. Since then, she has written such award-winning hallmarks of the American theater as "The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World", "Venus", "Fucking A", "The America Play", and "Topdog/Underdog". These plays examine the role of race and mythology in American life. "Little Red Letters", for instance, compares the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, "The Scarlet Letter" with the stigma attached to black mothers on welfare.
The grand message in these plays, is in her own words is that, "Myths seem to acquire greater weight throughout history until people are trapped beneath them."
She is currently living in California with her fiance, where her activities consist of yoga, meditation, and of course, writing.