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Five Talented Playwrights Receive Helen Merrill Awards

Mid-career playwrights receive $30,000 grants from the New York Community Trust.

NEW YORK CITY: The New York Community Trust has announced the winners of the 2019 Helen Merrill Awards, one of the largest and most significant awards for playwriting in the nation. Five exceptional American playwrights have won a total of $150,000 for their talent and dedication to live storytelling.

The honorees include Carlyle Brown (Pure Confidence), Mia Chung (Catch as Catch Can), Aleshea Harris (Is God Is), Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop), and Daniel Alexander Jones (Black Light).

“During her life, Helen represented, and would often use her personal resources to help, up-and-coming playwrights,” said Kerry McCarthy, vice president for philanthropic initiatives at the New York Community Trust, in a statement. “She cared deeply about the well-being of her writers, and this fund continues her legacy of helping talented playwrights survive in a challenging industry.”

The awards, named for the late theatrical agent, photographer, and playwriting mentor Helen Merrill, were established in 2000. Previous award winners include Will Eno, Sarah Ruhl, Wallace Shawn, and Amy Herzog.

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