American playwrights Lynn Nottage and Suzan-Lori Parks are finalists for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
Ms. Nottage submitted her piece “Sweat” and Ms. Parks “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)”. Both women are celebrated for their work both onstage and in film. Lynn Nottage is known for her Pulitzer prize-winning play “Ruined” about women in the civil-war torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Ms. Parks wrote the screenplay for the Spike Lee directed “Girl Six” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Top Dog/Under Dog”. The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize ( from the website) “The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, co-founded by Emilie S. Kilgore and William Blackburn, honors outstanding new English-language plays by women. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other honors, including Olivier, Lilly, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Eight Blackburn Finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Houston-based Susan Smith Blackburn Prize reflects the values and interests of Susan Smith Blackburn, noted American actress and writer who grew up in Houston and lived in London during the last 15 years of her life. The Prize was founded by Susan’s sister, Emilie S. Kilgore, and husband, William Blackburn. Over 350 plays have been honored as Finalists since the Prize was instituted in 1978. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other honors, including Olivier, Lilly, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Eight Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
The 2013-2014 Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood also won the U.K.’s Olivier Award for Best New Play and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. Subsequent to winning the 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Flick, Annie Baker was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Steinberg Playwright Award as well as with the Horton Foote Legacy Project.
Other recipients of the Prize include Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, Nell Dunn’s Steaming, Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (Dishonour), Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Gina Gionfriddo’s U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter’s Fall, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare, and Moira Buffini’s Silence.
Former Judges of The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize over the past thirty-eight years are a Who’s Who of the English-speaking theatre and include Edward Albee, Eileen Atkins, Blair Brown, Zoe Caldwell, Glenn Close, Harold Clurman, Colleen Dewhurst, Edie Falco, Ralph Fiennes, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Mel Gussow, David Hare, Garry Hynes, Judith Ivey, Tony Kushner, Phyliida Lloyd, Francis McDormand, Janet McTeer, Cynthia Nixon, Marsha Norman, Joan Plowright, Diana Rigg, Marian Seldes, Fiona Shaw, Max Stafford-Clark, Tom Stoppard, Meryl Streep, Daniel Sullivan, Jessica Tandy, Sigourney Weaver, August Wilson and George C. Wolfe among more than 200 artists and theatre professionals in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.”