Virtual Conversation: Charles J. Shields

By Lambs Club 4/8/22

The Lambs’ Virtual Conversation
Charles J. Shields

A life Behind A Raisin in the Sun
Thursday, April 7th – 8 PM
(Video below)

Author Charles J. Shields, the New York Times bestselling author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, tells the moving story of the life of Lorraine Hansberry, the woman behind A Raisin in the Sun, the most widely anthologized, read, and performed play of the American stage.

Written when she was just twenty-eight, Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark A Raisin in the Sun is listed by the National Theatre as one of the hundred most significant works of the twentieth century. Hansberry was the first Black woman to have a play performed on Broadway, and the first Black and youngest American playwright to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award.

She was a Chicago socialite who became a Black Communist, a Greenwich Village folkie who became a Broadway playwright at twenty-eight, a foe of capitalism who became wealthy, a feminist who relied exclusively on the judgement of her white husband— her best friend, promoter, and ultimately her keeper. She was full of confidence and haunted by doubts; she dreamed about the future but felt hopeless at times. She was a romantic, but no one could have been more clear-eyed about life. She loved men and women equally— as lovers, friends, and comrades in her quest for self-fulfillment.

This dramatic telling of a passionate life—a very American life through self-reinvention—uses previously unpublished interviews with close friends in politics and theater, privately held correspondence, and deep research to reconcile old mysteries and raise new questions about a life not fully described until now.

Charles J. Shields is the author of Harper Lee’s New York Times bestselling biography Mockingbird, the Kurt Vonnegut biography And So It Goes, and the biography of John Edward Williams, The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel. Shields has spoken to hundreds of large audiences in schools, libraries, museums, and historic theaters and appeared in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including the Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Huffington Post, and New York Times.