Wilson won the Pulitzer for Talley's Folly, one play in a trilogy which also includes Talley and Son and Fifth of July. The play was later presented on Broadway in 1981 and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Wilson's other Tony nominations were for Talley's Folly and Angels Fall.
Wilson co-founded The Circle Repertory Company, where many of his works were first seen. He was also the subject of a season of work at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company.
Among his many plays are Balm in Gilead, Redwood Curtain, Rain Dance, Book of Days, The Rimers of Eldritch, The Mound Builders, Serenading Louie, and The Gingham Dog.
The Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago is currently mounting a production of his renowned play The Hot L Baltimore, and the Center Theatre Group is about to mount a revival of his award-winning play Burn This.
In 1988, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick starred in a television adaptation of his play Lemon Sky. Wilson also received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on 1974's The Migrants.