Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson
1904. Many former slaves and descendants venturing north find themselves at Aunt Ester’s door in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. A renowned cleanser of souls claiming to be 285 years old, Ester provides solace, advice and healing. Citizen Barlow, racked with guilt over letting another man take the rap for of his crimes, desperately wants to be pure again. And Aunt Ester may be his only hope. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fences, comes a mystical story of freedom, justice and redemption.
August Wilson (April 27, 1947–October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the 20th century. His plays have been produced at regional theatres across the country, including on Broadway, and all over the world. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. His work garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; and eight New York Drama Critics Circle awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitneyand Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award and Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Wilson’s early works include the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecomingand the musical satire, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Wilson received many fellowships and awards including Rockefeller and Guggenheim fellowships in playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award and the 2003 Heinz Award. He was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and, in 2005, Broadway renamed the theatre located at 245 West 52nd Street as The August Wilson Theatre. He was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Penn., and lived in Seattle, Wash., at the time of his death. He and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, had two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen.