Anna Deavere Smith, University Professor in the Department of Performance Studies in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, has been selected to receive the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The award honors “a trailblazer in the arts who has redefined their art and pushed the boundaries of excellence in their field.” The award, established in 1994 by the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust, comes with a $300,000 prize.
Two of Professor Smith’s best-known works are the one-woman plays about racial tensions she wrote and performed: Fires in the Mirror (Obie Award winner and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee). She has appeared in several television shows and feature films and is the author of several books, including Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines and Letters to a Young Artist.
Smith is a graduate of what is now Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and earned a master of fine arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California.