HOURS | CONTACT US
  

 

  FOR STUDENTS
  FOR FACULTY

 

   Questions & Answers
   (202) 806-7252
  
Send an e-mail

 Fast Links

» Sterling
» Databases, Articles...
» Subject Guides
» How Do I...
» Site Map
»
A-Z Index
» Links
» Search Howard.edu
» Search the Web
» Campus Libraries

 

 
August Wilson
 

Timeline: 1945-1989, in Decades
Biblio/Biographical/Critical Sources

Based on the compilation of Christopher Rawson, Post-Gazette Drama Critic

1945 

  • August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945, IN pITTSBURGto Daisy Wilson and Frederick August Kittel, a German emigrant.  He is the fourth  of six children: Donna Conley, Linda Jean Denoya, Freda Ellis, Edwin Kittel and Richard Kittel.

1959 

  • Wilson attends Central Catholic High School but  leaves the school because of racist abuse. He would later attend Connelly Vocational High School but leave that school also, for lack of a challenging Curriculum.
1960 - 1969
1960
  • Wilson attends Gladstone High School but drops out of Gladstone at 10th grade when a teacher accuses him of plagiarizing a 20-page paper on Napoleon Bonaparte.  Wilson proceeds to educate himself at the Carnegie Public Library and through life experiences.

1962 

  • Wilson  enlists in the U.S. Army. He signs up for three years but  leaves after one year.
1963
  • He works at a variety of  jobs before he began writing for a living. He was a dishwasher, a cook, a porter, short-order cook and a gardener.

1965  

  • Wilson discovers the blues -- Bessie Smith's "Nobody Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine."
  • Wilson's  biological father dies. He changes his name from August Kittel to August Wilson.
  • He buys his first typewriter for $20.00, and writes poetry.
  • He moves into a rooming house on Bedford Avenue.

1968  

  • Wilson along with his friend Rob Penny, co-founds the theater Black Horizon.
1969  
  • Wilson's stepfather, David Bedford, dies.
1969  
  • Wilson marries Brenda Burton.

1970 - 1979
1976

  • Kuntu Repertory Theater runs "The Homecoming", directed by Vernell Lillie.
  • Wilson sees "Sizwe Bansi Is Dead" at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. 
    This  play by Athol Fugard about a Black South African man, struggling with identity under apartheid, was the first professional play he saw. It had a tremendous effect on Wilson.
1977
  • Wilson writes "Black Bart and the Sacred Hills." His  first musical satire.
1978 
  • Wilson moves to St. Paul, Minneapolis,  where he finds a job writing for the Science Museum.

1980 -1989
1980

  • He receives a fellowship to attend the  Minneapolis Playwrights Center.

1981

  • Wilson marries a second time. His wife is Judy Oliver, a social worker.
1982 
  • "Jitney" is staged by the Allegheny Repertory Theatre in Pittsburgh.  It is directed by Bob Johnson.  The cast includes Ron Pitts,  Curtis Porter, Monte Russell, Milt Thompson, and Sala Udin.
  • "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is staged at the  National Playwrights Conference at O'Neill Theater Center in Connecticut. 
  • August Wilson meets Lloyd Richards who will direct his  first six plays on Broadway

1983

  • Wilson's mother, Daisy Wilson, dies.

1984

  • "Ma Rainey Black Bottom" premieres at Yale Repertory Theatre.
  • "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"  moves to Broadway that same year.
  • Wilson Wins  New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play.

Publications:

  • Chicago Tribune, October 15, 1984
  • Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 1984, pp.29-30
  • Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1984
  • New York Times, April 11, 1984; April 13, 1984; October 12, 1984
  • Theater, fall-winter, 1984, pp.50-55; summer-fall
  • Times (London), November 6, 1984    
1985
  • "Fences" premieres at Yale Repertory Theater.
  • Nominated for the  Antoinette Perry Award (Tony),  from League of New York Theatres and Producers.
  • Wins the  Whiting Writers' Award from the Whiting Foundation.

Publications:

  • Ebony, January, 1985
  • New York Times, May 5, 1985, p.80
  • Saturday Review, January-February, 1985, pp.83, 90
1986 
  • "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" premieres at Yale Repertory Theater.
  • Reunion of Centre Avenue Poets Theater Workshop featuring  Maisha Baton, Rob Penny and others.
  • Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1986
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; wins Outstanding Play Award from American Theatre Critics.
  • Wins Drama Desk's,  Outstanding New Play Award.
  • Wins New York Drama Critics Circle, Best Play Award.
  • Wins Pulitzer Prize for drama.
  • Wins Antoinette Perry Award (Tony), for best play.
  • Wins Best Broadway play,  from the Outer Critics Circle. 

Publications:

  • Chicago Tribune, February 9, 1986, pp.12-13
  • New York Times, May 6, 1986; May 14, 1986; May 19, 1986, p. Cli
  • Theater, Summer-Fall, 1986, pp.64
  • Washington Post, May 20, 1986
1987
  • "Fences" opens on Broadway.
  • Wilson wins New York Drama Critics Circle  Award for "Fences".
  • Wilson's first Pulitzer Prize drama grosses $11 million at the box office. It is the first non-musical production to gross that much on Broadway.
  • Kuntu Theater in Pittsburgh stages a premiere of "Ma Rainey."
  •  Wilson wins the Outer Critics Circle's  John Gassner Award;  best American Playwright for "Fences."
  • Wilson is the Artist of the Year,  for the Chicago Tribune.
  • He wins the Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library.

Publications:

  • Chicago Tribune, June 8, 1987; December 17, 1987; December 27, 1987, pp.4-S
  • Christian Science Monitor, March 27, 1987, pp.1, 8
  • Ebony, November, 1987, pp.68, 70, 72, 74.
  • Essence, August, 1987, pp.51, 111, 113
  • Los Angeles Times, April 17, 1987; June 7, 1987; June 8, 1987; June 9, 1987
  • Newsweek, April 6, 1987
  • New York, April 6, 1987, pp.92-94
  • New Yorker, April 6, 1987, p.81
  • New York Newsday, April 20, 1987, p.47.
  • New York Times, March 27, 1987, p. C3; April 5, 1987, II, pp.1, 39; April 9, 1987; April 17, 1987; May 7, 1987; June 10, 1987, pp.36, 40, 49, 70. December 10, 1987; December 11, 1987
  • Time, April 6, 1987, p.81; April 27, 1987
  • Times (London), April 18, 1987; April 24, 1987
  • Washington Post, April 15, 1987; June 9, 1987; October 4, 1987; October 9, 1987

1988

  • "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" opens on Broadway.
  • "Joe Turner  wins New York Drama Critic Circle Award.
  • Wilson lectures on "Blacks Blues and Cultural Imperialism." at the Carnegie Institute's Man and Ideas series.
  • He talks of the racist reality growing up Black in Pittsburgh.
  • Wilson appears on Bill Moyers' "World of Ideas" (PBS).
  • He Receives  the Best Play Award for  "Joe Turner's Come and Gone", from the New York Drama Critics Circle.
  • "Joe Turner's Come and Gone", Drama Desk Outstanding New Play Award.
  • He wins the Antoinette Perry Award (Tony Award) for Best Play.
  • He wins the American Theatre Critics Outstanding Play Award.
  • Wilson wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1988.

Publications:

  • Christian Science Monitor, March 30, 1988, p.21
  • Los Angeles Times, February 6, 1988    
  • Massachusetts Review, spring, 1988, pp. 87-97
  • Newsweek, April 11, 1988, p.82
  • New Yorker, April 11, 1988, p.107
  • New York Post, March 28, 1988   
  • New York Post, March 27, 1988, pp.1, 34; March 28, 1988, p. CiS
  • Theater, summer-fall, 1988, pp.69-71
  • Time, April 11, 1988, pp.77-78

1989 

  • Pittsburgh Public Theater stages its first Wilson play "Fences". Also,  "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" that same year.
  • "The Piano Lesson" premieres at Yale Repertory Theater.
  • August Wilson is named 1990 Pittsburgher of the Year, by the Pittsburgh Magazine.

Publications:

  • Esquire, April, 1989, pp. 116, 118, 120, 122-27
  • New York Times, January 30, 1989, p.69
  • Time, January 30, 1989, p.69
 
     HOME | SEARCH / BROWSE | RESEARCH ASSISTANCE | SERVICES | SPECIAL PROGRAMS | ABOUT US  SITE MAP  
Howard University. All rights reserved.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059 - (202) 806-7234
Questions? Comments? - Contacts  - WWW Disclaimer