John Edgar Widemanwriter
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Wideman grew up in Homewood, a black middle-class section of Pittsburgh that is the setting of one of his best-known works, The Homewood Trilogy (1981–83). He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a Benjamin Franklin Scholarship, graduating in 1963. Wideman became the second black American to win a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a master's degree in literature in 1966. After writing several novels, he began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, helping found the school's Afro-American studies department. He has received two PEN/Faulkner Awards and a MacArthur Foundation grant. He has most recently taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Brown University.