Born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, Suzan-Lori Parks is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, musician and novelist.
While at Mount Holyoke, Parks studied under James Baldwin, who encouraged her to become a playwright. In 2002, Parks became the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog,” which also won the Outer Critics Circle Award.
Parks also writes screenplays, including for Spike Lee and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. She also wrote the screenplay for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” for which Andra Day was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress.
Class year: 1985
Major: English and German; Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, 2001