Anna Deavere Smith, an Atlantic contributing writer, is a playwright and an actor.
Her works for the theater are composed of excerpts of hundreds of interviews that tell stories about contemporary issues from multiple perspectives. She is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Medal for Spoken Language, the National Humanities Medal, a MacArthur fellowship, several Obie Awards, and the George Polk ] Award in Journalism. She was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards. She is currently a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.