Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has been awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which honors “highly accomplished artists… who have pushed the boundaries of their art forms, contributed to social change and paved the way for the next generation.”
The Gish Prize comes with a cash reward of $300,000. The award was founded in 1994 through a bequest from actress Lillian Gish and named after herself and her sister.
Parks’ most recent play is “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1,2,3),” which details the painful homecoming of a black Civil War soldier, a slave named Hero, who fought for the South alongside his plantation master. It debuted last fall in New York’s Public Theater and will open in Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum on April 19.
Parks received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 2001 and won the Pulitzer Prize for the play “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. She also wrote the screenplays for Spike Lee’s “Girl 6” (1996) and Darnell Martin’s Halle Berry vehicle “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (2005).
Previous winners of the Gish Prize include Bob Dylan, Frank Gehry, Ornette Coleman, Arthur Miller, Spike Lee and Maya Lin.
“I’ve been looking up to them and following in their footsteps for years,” commented Parks. “And now I’m invited to join them? It’s brilliantly trippy.”
[via LA Times]