Suzan-Lori Parks is a multi-award-winning American writer/musician and the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog which recently enjoyed its twentieth anniversary Broadway revival. The production won both the 2023 Tony Award, (Best Revival Of A Play) and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Just last year, in 2023, Parks also had three new works which all received world premieres: at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Sally & Tom (Steinberg New Play Award finalist) at Joe’s Pub in New York City, Plays for the Plague Year (winner of The Drama Desk Award for Best Music in a Play), and, at the Public Theatre, Parks world-premiered a musical adaptation of the 1972 film The Harder They Come (winner: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical.)
Parks’ other notable works for theatre include: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical, White Noise, The Book of Grace, In the Blood, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, The America Play, Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1,2,&3 and Fucking A. Parks’ marathon writing “diary play” 365 Days/365 Plays— her first project in which she wrote a play a day for an entire year—was produced at more than seven hundred theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history.
A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, Parks’ novel Getting Mother’s Body is published by Random House. She also writes extensively for the screen — most recently, as the scriptwriter for the film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and as the showrunner/executive producer/head writer for the television show Genius: Aretha.
In 2023 Parks was named among “TIME MAGAZINE’S 100.” Other notable accolades and awards include the prestigious Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts, grants from 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. She is also a recipient of a Lila-Wallace—Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.
In November 2022, Parks was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. She is Writer in Residence of the Public Theater, a professor at New York University, and an alumna of New Dramatists and of Mount Holyoke College where she studied creative writing with James Baldwin, who encouraged Parks to begin writing for the theatre. In her spare time, Parks also writes songs and fronts her band Sula and The Joyful Noise.