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Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

I don't know how to pronounce their name. There are these French people, the D'Aulaires. D-apostrophe-a-u-l-a-i-r-e-s, something like that. "D'Aulaires," you're supposed to say. Greek myths, illustrated. The book used to be -- I think it still is -- about this big, and I have it in hard cover, still do have it in hard cover, and it's Greek myths. My mom and dad got me that book in probably the third grade, and I would sit there poring over these myths. I love tales and myths and legends, that kind of thing. I still do, love that kind of stuff, those stories, stories about gods and goddesses and all kinds of stuff. I loved that. Those were my favorite books growing up.
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Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

We had to take an English class, and I remember, among the books we read, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, which I still don't really get. But I got it, like in this way. I was like, "Oh, this is beautiful!" It was beautiful. A woman, and the lighthouse, and "Will we go to the lighthouse? Will we not go? Will the weather be good?" Whatever. I don't know what they're talking about, but it was gorgeous, and I remember when I read that book, I said, "Oh, yeah! I remember who I am!" It reminded me. It helped me "re-member," literally, put my members back on each other. It's as if somebody had given me my hands back, or my eyes back, or my ears back, or my heart back. You remember yourself, and you go, "I remember who I am. I'm the kid who loves myths, and makes up songs about things, and who loves writing." So there I was. I danced out of there, and I've been dancing out ever since.
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Suzan-Lori Parks

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

The concept of talent is overrated. The real gift is the gift of love. So what happens is you fall in love with something, like you fall in love with an instrument, or you fall in love with a craft like writing, or you fall in love with the legal system and want to be a lawyer. So what happens is you fall in love with something, and you want to practice that something all the time, and then hard work at it begets talent for it, and I just think that's pretty groovy.
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Linus Pauling

Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Peace

Linus Pauling: When I was 11 years old, I became interested in insects -- entomology. And for a year I read books about insects and collected specimens of butterflies and beetles in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. When I was 12, I became interested in rocks and minerals. I couldn't collect very many; where I was wasn't a good source of minerals except agates, but I read a great deal about minerals. Then when I was 13, I became interested in chemistry in these remarkable phenomena in which one substance is converted into another substance, or two substances react to produce a third substance with quite different properties. Then when I was 18, in 1919, when I was teaching quantitative analysis full time at Oregon Agricultural College for one year between my sophomore and junior years, I read the papers of Irving Langmuir in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, in 1919 and went back to G.N. Lewis's 1916 paper. These papers dealing with the nature of the chemical bond, the role of electrons in holding atoms together interested me very much. That has been, essentially, the story of my life ever since.
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Shimon Peres

President of Israel

My grandfather studied together with our greatest poet, by the name of Chaim Nachman Bialik, who is considered our national poet to this very day. And from him, I learned the Talmud, the Bible. As a young boy, he taught me every day a page of the Talmud. I was under his spell. He was a rabbi. I was extremely religious when I was a young boy. It's only when I emigrated to Israel that I divorced my orthodox behavior and concept and changed my dress. I changed my eyes, I changed my outlooks, I changed my behavior. It was like moving from one world to another world, except for one thing, for the love of Israel, for the knowledge of the Hebrew language. That was my world.
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Shimon Peres

President of Israel

When I came to Israel, my first sensation was the blue sky. I never saw a sky as blue as that. Then, I didn't see many rivers, which surprised me again. I didn't see many forests. But on the other hand, all the writings, whether in the streets or in the paper, was in the Hebrew language. That was like entering -- again -- a new world. I saw Israeli policemen. And we came. My father, who emigrated before us a couple of years to prepare our coming, was living in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv was totally white and summery and lovely. They called at that time, "Tel Aviv is a small Paris." I have never been to Paris, so I was sure that Paris is even smaller than Tel Aviv. And when I got bar mitzvah'd -- 13 years old -- my parents bought me a bicycle, and I would -- touring the streets of Tel Aviv to see if they were building a building, if they planted a new tree. I felt as though it would be my estate, as though it would be my life.
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