Leading US playwright, Pulitzer Prize laureate Wilson dies

Pulitzer Prize-winning US playwright August Wilson, who wrote a series of landmark dramas about 20th Century life in black America, has died.

Wilson, who was 60, had suffered from liver cancer, a spokeswoman said.

He wrote 10 acclaimed plays about black American life and identity - one for each decade of the 20th Century.

Fences and The Piano Lesson both won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, while five of the 10 won New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for best play, reports BBC.

According to Daily News, Wilson, who won a record seven New York Drama Critics' Circle prizes, completed "Radio Golf," the 10th play in his cycle, this year.

Later this month, the Virginia Theater, on 52nd St. between Broadway and Eighth Ave., will be renamed in Wilson's honor.

Born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh to a white father and a black mother, Wilson dropped out of school at age15.

After a stint in the Army and jobs as a dishwasher, short-order cook and porter, he started banging out poetry on a $20 typewriter and found his true calling.

"Writing has definitely been a refuge for me, something I needed to do in order to survive," Wilson said in May on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show."

His early poetry appeared in black publications at the University of Pittsburgh, and caught the eye of Lloyd Richards, dean of the Yale University Drama School.

Wilson became famous writing about what he knew best - the good and the ugly of life in Pittsburgh's predominantly black Hill District.


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