Naomi Iizuka, whose works include 36 Views, War of the Worlds, Language of the Angels, and Tattoo Girl. As is the case with all PEN awards, the judges of the Pels Awards are all distinguished members of the theater community

The PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Awards for Drama recognize a master American dramatist and an American playwright in mid-career, both of whose literary achievements are vividly apparent in the rich and striking language of their work. The former receives a rare first edition of dramatic literature from Bauman’s Rare Books, the latter a $7,500 stipend. The awards were developed to reflect Laura Pels’ dedication to supporting excellence in American theater, as well as PEN’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the literary accomplishments of playwrights.

2007 Judges

Paige Evans, James Houghton, and Donald Margulies

From the Judges’ Citation

“Her plays, from Polaroid Stories to 36 Views to Strike/Slip, combine innovative form with a multicultural worldview, while telling compelling stories peopled with vivid characters. Her work is fresh and exciting, intelligent and always surprising. Naomi grapples with big, thorny political issues of race, gender and identity in her plays; asking important questions without ever being didactic. She knows how to draw in an audience with intriguing stories, complicated, very human characters, and wry humor; she compels and entertains us, while creating bold new forms and always making us think.”

Past Honorees

Dael Orlandersmith, Lynn Nottage, Tony Kushner, Charles L. Mee, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel, Richard Greenberg, Craig Lucas, and Stephen Adly Guirgis