Author bio

Author Image

Lorraine Hansberry - book author

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was an American playwright and writer. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone's song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black".

She was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play "A Raisin in the Sun," highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. Hansberry's family had struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant and eventually provoking the Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee. The title of the play was taken from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"

After she moved to New York City, Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom, where she dealt with intellectuals such as Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. Much of her work during this time concerned the African struggle for liberation and their impact on the world. Hansberry has been identified as a lesbian, and sexual freedom is an important topic in several of her works. She died of cancer at the age of 34.

(from Wikipedia)

Lorraine Hansberry is the author of books: A Raisin in the Sun, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography, A Raisin in the Sun and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, A Raisin in the Sun: The Unfilmed Original Screenplay, Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays: The Drinking Gourd/What Use Are Flowers?, The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window, Les Blancs, The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality, Lorraine Hansberry Audio Collection CD: Raisin in the Sun, To be Young, Gifted and Black and Lorraine Hansberry Speaks Out, What Use are Flowers?

Author Signature

Author Books

#
Title
Description
01
"Never before, in the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage," observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959.

Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever.  The play's title comes from a line in Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem," which warns that a dream deferred might "dry up/like a raisin in the sun."

"The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun," said The New York Times.  "It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic."  This Modern Library edition presents the fully restored, uncut version of Hansberry's landmark work with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff.
02

In her first play, the now-classic A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry introduced the lives of ordinary African Americans into our national theatrical repertory. Now, Hansberry tells her own life story in an autobiography that rings with the voice of its creator.

03
By the time of her death thirty years ago, at the tragically young age of thirty-four, Lorraine Hansberry had created two electrifying masterpieces of the American theater. With A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry gave this country its most movingly authentic portrayal of black family life in the inner city. Barely five years later, with The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, Hansberry gave us an unforgettable portrait of a man struggling with his individual fate in an age of racial and social injustice. These two plays remain milestones in the American theater, remarkable not only for their historical value but for their continued ability to engage the imagination and the heart.

With an Introduction by Robert Nemiroff
04
Under the editorship of the late Robert Nemiroff, with a provocative and thoughtful introduction by preeminent African-American scholar Margaret B. Wilkerson and a commentary by Spike Lee, this completely restored screenplay is the accurate and authoritative edition of Lorraine Hansberry's script and a testament to her unparalled accomplishment as a black woman artist.

The 1961 film version of A Raisin in the Sun, with a screenplay by the author, Lorraine Hansberry, won an award at the Cannes Film Festival even though one-third of the actual screenplay Hansberry had written had been cut out. The film did essentially bring Hansberry's extraordinary play to the screen, but it failed to fulfill her cinematic vision.

Now, with this landmark edition of Lorraine Hansberry's original script for the movie of A Raisin in the Sun that audiences never viewed, readers have at hand an epic, eloquent work capturing not only the life and dreams of a black family, but the Chicago--and the society--that surround and shape them.

Important changes in dialogue and exterior shots, a stunning shift of focus to her male protagonist, and a dramatic rewriting of the final scene show us an artist who understood and used the cinematic medium to transform a stage play into a different art form--a profound and powerful film.
05
Here are Lorraine Hansberry's last three plays--Les Blancs, The Drinking Gourd, and What Use Are Flowers?--representing the capstone of her achievement. Includes a new preface by Jewell Gresham Nemiroff and a revised introduction by Margaret B. Wilkerson.
06
By the time of her death at age thirty-four, Lorraine Hansberry had created two electrifying masterpieces of the American theater. With A Raisin in the Sun she gave this country its most movingly authentic portrayal of black family life in the inner city. Barely five years later, with The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, Hansberry gave us an unforgettable portrait of a man struggling wit his individual fate in an age of racial and social injustice. These two plays remain milestones in the American theater, remarkable not only for their historical value but for their continual ability to engage the imagination and heart. With an Introduction by Robert Nemiroff.
07
New Revised Version 5 black m, 3 white m, 2 white f, 1 black f, 6 extras including 1 child Unit set Best American play of 1970, Les Blancs prophetically confronts the hope and tragedy of Africa in revolution. The setting is a white Christian mission in a colony about to explode. The time is that hour of reckoning when no one the guilty nor the innocent can evade the consequences of white colonialism and imperatives of black liberation. Tshembe Matoseh, the English educated son of a chief, has
09
Lorraine Hansberry wrote of Black consciousness before it was fashionable, but she bequeathed to all of us a legacy astounding in its richness and relevancy. Few writers, black or white, are more relevant to present-day America than Lorraine Hansberry.

Here, for the first time, Caedmon has gathered many of her plays, interviews, and speeches into one unforgettable collection.

A Raisin in the Sun: an emotionally lacerating landmark of modem American theatre. A full-cast production starring Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black: a glowing, vibrant, searing and, at the same time, redemptively joyous self-portrait. A full-cast production starring James Earl Jones.

Lorraine Hansberry Speaks Out: seven interviews and speeches, recorded between 1959 and 1964, that range in topic from integration to backlash to the greatness and limitations of AfricanAmerican leadership.