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August Wilson Society 10th Anniversary Conference: Home

10th Anniversary Conference October 6-8, 2016

“ writing about black people, you are not limiting yourself. The experiences of African Americans are as wide open as God’s closet.”   
— August Wilson, playwright —

August Wilson (1945-2005)

The August Wilson Society (AWS) was established at Howard University in spring 2006 to develop multiple ways of sustaining and passing along August Wilson’s legacy.  

This fundamental mission is reflected in the interdisciplinary scope of the Society’s charter membership as well as in projects already slated to delve more deeply into the largely untapped interdisciplinary spectrum of his work. 

Sandra G. Shannon,
AWS Founder & President

Join us in our efforts to explore God’s wide-open closet! Help us discover the  untold gifts and inspiring genius of August Wilson.

And please plan a trip to "The Mecca," Howard University, for AWS' upcoming October 6-8, 2016, Tenth Anniversary Conference: "AN AUGUST OCCASION."  We welcome participation and contributions from scholars, artists, and students from around the globe for what promises to be an insightful and exciting program—you won't want to miss it!

See you soon!


Dr. Sandra G. Shannon is Professor of African American Literature in the Department of English at Howard University and a Fulbright Specialist in African American Studies. She is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, having authored two book-length studies on him and his work: The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson, one of the first book-length studies on the playwright; and August Wilson's Fences: A Reference Guide, a companion piece to "Fences," the sixth of Wilson's 10-play "Pittsburgh Cycle" and one of his most powerful works. She recently edited August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle: Critical Perspectives on the Plays and co-edited two essay collections: MLA Approaches to Teaching the Plays of August Wilson and August Wilson and Black AestheticsDr. Shannon also served as key consultant in the making of the PBS American Masters documentary, "August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand," which aired in February 2015.                                                                    



Program Initiatives

The August Wilson Society's (AWS) programs aim to: 


  • Extend awareness of and knowledge about the dramatic vision and integrity of August Wilson
  • Sustain and develop artistic and educational programs that focus on August Wilson's contributions to theatre nationally and internationally

AWS objectives:

  • Maintain a website that collects and highlights books, articles, panels, conferences, and other works about August Wilson or addressing his key themes

  • Sponsor regular symposia, forums, lectures, teacher training workshops, student performances, and conferences that focus on the work of August Wilson

  • Have a presence at various leading academic conferences such as MLA, CLA, ATDS, and ATHE

  • Serve as a clearing house for materials and information related to the work of August Wilson

  • Publish a biannual online newsletter

AWS Programs: Earlier This Year...

The August Wilson Society recently kicked off its 10th anniversary activities at Howard University with “August in the Park: A Celebration of the Ground on Which We Stand,” a three-hour performance extravaganza featuring song, dance, music, and dramatic readings (see photos from the April 2016 event below).

“August in the Park” highlighted the legacy of a major American playwright and son of Howard—August Wilson—whose Pulitzer Prize-winning American Century Cycle plays chronicle the history of African Americans from the Reconstruction era of Howard University’s own inception to the twenty-first century. The event also affirmed the spirit of resistance and change that August Wilson so passionately demonstrated in his provocative call-to-arms speech, “The Ground On Which I Stand,” which he delivered to much media fanfare exactly 20 years ago in April 1996 at the annual conference of the Theatre Communications Group at Princeton University.

Support The AWS!!

AWS Needs Your Support!

Your tax-deductible gift of $100*, $200, $500**, $1,000, or more will go a long way toward assuring
that August Wilson’s work and legacy survive and thrive well into the future.

Support and become part of AWS’s decade-long efforts to uplift
August Wilson’s body of work as a national—indeed, as a transcendent and international—treasure.

Your donation will help preserve the “cultural ground” that spawned August Wilson’s genius alive
and vibrant for current and future generations. 

We can’t do it alone! Donate Today

*Donors who contribute $100 -$499 will 
receive a free copy of The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson, signed by the author (AWS President and founder Sandra Shannon). **Donors who contribute $500 or more will receive free registration to the October conference and will be our guests at a special donor’s luncheon during that meeting with AWS members and esteemed celebrities from the theater world. Click here for more information.