HANOVER, N.H.: Gina Femia has been named the recipient of this year’s Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting. The award considers plays that address what it means to be human in a computerized world, and Femia is being honored for meet you at the Galaxy Diner.
“Gina Femia’s work is remarkable—it’s thoughtful and hopeful, showing that our frenetic digital culture has space for nostalgia and meaningful connection,” said Dan Rockmore, the director of Dartmouth College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science, said in a statement.
Meet you at the Galaxy Diner tells the story of high school friends who reconnect by chance over a 1990s-era online messaging service, sparking a wave of memories and old emotions. The play explores technology, outer space, and whether looking back can help people remember who they are. Femia’s work has been produced and developed with MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and the Playwrights’ Center, among others. Her play Allond(r)a was named to the 2019 Kilroys List and won the Yale Drama Prize. She is an alum of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood and is currently a Core Writer with the Playwrights’ Center.
Nkenna Akunna received runner-up honors for Some of Us Exist in the Future. The play follows a Black immigrant in Brooklyn through her daily efforts to scrape by and the nightly calls she receives from the gods on her television. Akunna will receive a $500 cash prize and a residency at VoxLab. Akunna is a British Nigerian writer and performer whose work has been staged throughout the UK and the US. She is a winner of the VAULT Festival New Writers Award and a 2017-18 member of the Soho Writers’ Lab. Akunna is a director and lead editor at Skin Deep, a collective that makes space for Black creatives through cultural production.
The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting is a partnership between the Neukom Institute, the Department of Theater at Dartmouth, VoxLab, and Northern Stage. The Neukom Institute supports a broad view of computational investigation across Dartmouth’s campus to catalyze creative thought.
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