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Two Alumni Win Pulitzer Prizes

Frank Main and Bruce Norris named for work in local reporting and drama

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April 18, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Add two more alumni to the list of Wildcat Pulitzer Prize winners -- – journalist Frank Main for his documentation of violence in Chicago neighborhoods and playwright Bruce Norris for his re-imagining of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Main, who received a master’s degree in journalism from Medill in 1987, won the 2011 prize in journalism for local reporting with fellow Chicago Sun-Times reporters Mark Konkol and John J. Kim. Jurors praised their “immersive documentation of violence in Chicago neighborhoods, probing the lives of victims, criminals and detectives as a widespread code of silence impedes solutions.”

Norris, who graduated in 1982 with a degree in theatre from the School of Communication, was named winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in drama for “Clybourne Park.” The Pulitzer Prize jury called Norris’ drama “a powerful work whose memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America’s sometimes toxic struggle with race and class consciousness.” The play opens at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in September.

Main has worked as a Chicago Sun-Times staff reporter for more than decade. His investigative projects have explored the Russian mafia, gangs in the military and the sale of consumers’ telephone calling records. In 23 years of journalism, he has covered wars in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia and Colombia as well as the aftermath of 9/11 and of Hurricane Katrina.

Norris’ “Clybourne Park” -- winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Play in 2010 --was produced at the Royal Court Theatre, a British company dedicated to new work by innovative writers around the world. The recipient of the Stein Playwright Award, The Whiting Foundation Prize for Best Drama and two Chicago Jefferson Awards for Best New Work, Norris’ plays have been produced in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and abroad.

Northwestern University Press will publish “Clybourne Park” in a forthcoming anthology of new plays co-edited by Harvey Young Jr., associate professor of theatre. Northwestern University Press is the publisher of Norris’ “The Unmentionables: A Play” (2009), “The Pain and the Itch: A Play” (2008) and “The Purple Heart and The Infidel: Two Plays” (2005).