Best known for her award-winning 1959 stage drama, A Raisin in the Sun, playwright Lorraine Hansberry was also an activist for civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, fair housing, and peace (and dear friends with both Nina Simone and James Baldwin). Though she passed away at the age of 34 from pancreatic cancer, Hansberry’s literary legacy looms large. Published posthumously, Hansberry’s To Be Young, Gifted and Black features a wide range of autobiographical work from throughout her tragically truncated career — collecting letters, essays, play excerpts, and more. Lorraine Hansberry was an extraordinary talent and her remarkable writings, full as they were of fury, outrage, sagacity, humor, compassion, and vulnerability, deserve an even wider and more enduring readership in this age of increasing civil conflict and unrest. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
This is the story of a young woman born in Chicago who came to New York, won fame with her play, A Raisin in the Sun–and went on to new heights of artistry before her tragic death. In turns angry, loving, bitter, laughing, and defiantly proud, the story, voice, and message are all Lorraine Hansberry’s own, coming together in one of the major works of the black experience in mid-century America.
"Brilliantly alive." The New York Times
About the Author
Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago. In 1950, she left college to pursue writing in New York, including working on the staff of Freedom, a black newspaper. The production of her play A Raisin in the Sun catapulted Hansberry into the forefront of the theater world. She was the youngest playwright and only the fifth woman to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play, and to win the distinguished Drama Desk Award. In 1961, the film version of the play, starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, and Ruby Dee, opened; Hansberry won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Screenwriters Guild Award for her screenplay. Among her other writings are numerously essays and the play The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window.