Pearl Cleage, author of the Oprah favorite What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, praised Suzan-Lori Parks and her debut novel, Getting Mother's Body: "With a playwright’s ear, a novelist’s eye, and a passionate appreciation for the complex magic of everyday women, Suzan-Lori Parks spins a story whose characters are as mysterious and sexy as lace curtains billowing at the bedroom window."
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Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
May 10, 1963
Place of Birth:
B.A., Mt. Holyoke College, 1985
Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog, 2002; MacArthur “Genius" Grant, 2001; Guggenheim Fellowship
|Our Book Club Pick|
|Getting Mother's Body|
Chosen as one of Book magazine's writers to watch in their 2002 "Newcomers" issue, Parks delivers a debut novel that honors classic literature while exposing other, more modern influences. "This book is kind of like what you'd get if you crossed Faulkner with Zora Neale Hurston with Eddie Murphy on his Raw tour -- oh, and a yoga book," Parks tells Book. "I read a lot of yoga books. They speak to the unity of the common soul, and that unity is what I try to pursue in my writing."
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|A Writer's Relief|
|In an interview with L.A. Weekly, Parks described how it felt to finish Getting Mother's Body: "Writing is like trying to stay alive while there’s an anaconda squeezing me. It’s contracting and squeezing me, and if I don’t stand just like this, it’ll kill me. When I finished the novel, I felt the snake coiled around me, but it wasn’t constricting -- it was around my feet."|
|Parks's Pulitzer Winner||Favorite Writers and Reads|
In 2002, Parks became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her darkly comic tale of brotherly love. Jeffrey Wright and hip-hop recording star Mos Def starred as the two doomed brothers when the play made it to Broadway, prompting the New York Post to call it "a smashing evening in the theater."
|To the Lighthouse|
Read our exclusive interview with Parks to learn all about her favorite writers and reads, from Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse to a classic children's book: