Patti Hartigan to Write First Major August Wilson Biography
Former Boston Globe theatre critic Patti Hartigan has been signed on to write the first major biography of late two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. According to the New York Times, Hartigan will be working with full cooperation of Constanza Romero, Wilson's widow, as well as his estate. The book is currently planned to be titled "August Wilson: The Kiln in Which He Was Fired" and will be released in 2019 by 37 INK, an imprint of Atria Books.
Wilson's work has been most recently brought back on the radar with JITNEY playing on Broadway and the film FENCES starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. The film earned four Oscar nominations, one being a win for Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress.
Wilson insisted that any film version of FENCES would have to have a black director when it was first optioned in 1987. Wilson noted in the director job description that the job "requires someone who shares the specifics of the culture of black Americans."
The issue brought into question is that Hartigan is white, however she believes her extension knowledge of Wilson's work and multiple interviews makes her the right person for the job. Hartigan first met Wilson in 1987 in Boston. Eight of his plays were produced at the Huntington Theatre Company, part of Hartigan's beat, prior moving to New York. She also wrote a lengthy profile on Wilson for the Boston Globe back in 2005.
Hartigan told the New York Times that, "I interviewed him many times about this subject, and I know how strongly he felt about it. And I think my knowledge of his work and my experience with him over the years adds a depth to the biography that perhaps someone who isn't immersed in theater wouldn't bring to the project."
Photo credit: Boston Globe