NEW YORK CITY: The PEN American Center has named the winners of its 2016 PEN Literary Awards, which celebrate writers in fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, and poetry. This year’s winners in drama are Lynn Nottage, Young Jean Lee, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
Annie Baker, Kirsten Greenidge, and Tracy Letts served as judges in the drama category this year.
Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Intimate Apparel, Sweat) has won the Master American Dramatist Award, which comes with a specially commissioned piece of art. “In 2004, Ms. Nottage was awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theatre Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career, but since that time her influence in the American theatre has widened and deepened and her awe-inspiring body of work demonstrates that she is truly a Master American Dramatist,” the judges said in a statement.
Young Jean Lee (Straight White Men, The Shipment) won the American Playwright in Mid-Career Award, which comes with a cash prize of $7,500. “Young Jean Lee’s work has been challenging and thrilling audiences since her first play opened in 2003,” the judges said in a statement. “By tackling themes and projects that initially strike her as nightmarish, Ms. Lee writes and directs theatre that has a raw, honest vulnerability that the judges think is unprecedented in the American theatre.”
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon, Appropriate) won the Emerging American Playwright award, with a cash prize of $2,500. “Though Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins has certainly emerged, we see his career as being filled with abounding promise,” the judges said in a statement.
The PEN American Center is a literary organization, dedicated to protecting the free speech of writers worldwide.