Literary Birthday – 27 April – August Wilson

August Wilson was born 27 April 1945, and died 2 October 2005.


  1. Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
  2. The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.
  3. Blacks have traditionally had to operate in a situation where whites have set themselves up as the custodians of the black experience.
  4. Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.
  5. When I first started writing plays I couldn’t write good dialogue because I didn’t respect how black people talked. I thought that in order to make art out of their dialogue I had to change it, make it into something different. Once I learned to value and respect my characters, I could really hear them. I let them start talking.
  6. All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics.
  7. A novelist writes a novel, and people read it. But reading is a solitary act. While it may elicit a varied and personal response, the communal nature of the audience is like having five hundred people read your novel and respond to it at the same time. I find that thrilling.
  8. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.
  9. Freedom is heavy. You got to put your shoulder to freedom. Put your shoulder to it and hope your back holds up.

August Wilson was an American playwright. His work included a series of ten plays known as The Pittsburgh Cycle. He received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for for Fences and The Piano Lesson.

Click here to see a photograph of the author

by Amanda Patterson

Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 27th April 2015