Anna Deavere Smith, a professor of art and public policy at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, was chosen as the winner of the George Polk Career Award in Journalism. The award, named after a CBS correspondent who died covering the Greek Civil War in 1948, honors excellence in print and broadcast journalism. Smith, an actress, playwright, and performance artist, is the first winner of the Polk Award who is not a traditional journalist.
Two of Professor Smith’s best-known works are one-woman plays about racial tensions that 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).
Professor Smith 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. She has appeared in the film The American President (1995) and the television shows The West Wing and Nurse Jackie.
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.