August Wilson Biography | Author of Fences

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August Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel, on April 27, 1945, in a ghetto area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, known as "The Hill." Wilson's white father, a German baker named August Kittel, abandoned the family when Wilson was a child. Wilson's mother, Daisy Wilson Kittel, worked as a cleaning woman to raise her six children. Later, after Wilson's mother had remarried, his stepfather moved the family to a while neighborhood where Wilson was subjected to unbridled racism. At age 15, Wilson dropped out of school after being falsely accused of plagiarism; after that episode, he continued his education on his own, with periods of extensive reading at the public library.

Wilson began his career writing poetry and short stories but switched to drama in 1978 when he was invited to write plays for a black theatre in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Several fellowships enabled Wilson to concentrate on writing plays as a full time venture...

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Fences from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.