“Walking Dead” Actress Danai Gurira Wins Whiting Writing Award

Danai Gurira, best known for her role of Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead, has been awarded the Whiting Writers Award.

For those who may not be familiar, Danai Gurira, who made her Broadway debut in 2010 in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson, is an accomplished playwright in her own right.  She co-wrote In the Continuum with Nikkole Salter which received the Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for writing.  Gurira also received a Helen Hayes Award for her performance in In The Contiuum.  Other work written by Gurira includes Eclipsed and The Convert.

Another woman of color honored was Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt a non-fiction writer.  She graduated from Harvard and was a Fulbright Scholar

Rhodes-Pitt’s first novel is entitled Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America.  The books description is as follows:

“For a century Harlem has been celebrated as the capital of black America, a thriving center of cultural achievement and political action. At a crucial moment in Harlem’s history, as gentrification encroaches, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts untangles the myth and meaning of Harlem’s legacy. Examining the epic Harlem of official history and the personal Harlem that begins at her front door, Rhodes-Pitts introduces us to a wide variety of characters, past and present. At the heart of their stories, and her own, is the hope carried over many generations, hope that Harlem would be the ground from which blacks fully entered America’s democracy.”

The novel was a selction for Notable Books of 2011 by the NY Times Book Review and received a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award.   She is currently working on a trilogy of books on African Americans and there Utopias.

The Whiting Writers Award is a $50,000 award given annually to ten emerging authors and playwrights.  Gurira and Rhodes-Pitt are joined this year in recieving the award by: Ciaran Berry (poet), Alan Heathcock (Fiction),Samuel D. Hunter (playwright), Mona Monsur (playwright), Anthony Mara (Fiction), Meg Miroshnik (playwright),Hanna Pylvainen (Fiction), and  Artsuro Riley (poetry).

Previous winners include August Wilson (FencesTarrel Alvin McCrainey (Brother Sister Plays), Tracy Scott Wilson (The Good Negro), Terrance Hayes (Hip Logic), Suzan-Lori Parks (Top Dog Underdog) and ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere)

article by Natasha Greeves via blogs.indiewire.com

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