The 2010 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for Drama to a Master Playwright went to David Mamet, best known for his plays American Buffalo, Speed-the-Plow, andGlengarry Glen Ross.

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. As is the case with all PEN awards, the judges of the Pels Awards are all distinguished members of the theater community.

2012 Judges

Robert Brustein, John Lahr, and Stephen Wadsworth

From the Judges’ Citation

Most major American dramatists are associated with a signature play.  But just try to name the signature work of David Mamet. The New York Drama Critics Circle winner American Buffalo? The Pulitzer and Tony Award–winningGlengarry Glen RossSpeed-the-Plow?Oleanna? In a time when much of the American public regards theatre as an obscure or elitist pastime, David Mamet is an artistic and cultural icon. How many dramatists have had their names turned into a popular descriptive term: ‘Mamet speak?’ In truth, however, Mamet transcends ‘Mamet speak.’ His is a singularly rich, prolific, and diverse body of work: think ofEdmond’s descent into the urban Inferno, the Victorian double-entendres of Boston Marriage,The Cryptogram’s stunning theatrical poetry, the political satire of November, or his investigation into the explosive issue of Race. We can consider these and other groundbreaking plays without even touching on his achievements as a two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter, film director, and television series creator writer, director, and producer. Beyond these, he has distinguished himself as a teacher, stage director, novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, blogger, and founding member of the Atlantic Theatre Company. At home and abroad, he ranks among the most influential American playwrights in history, and his work will inspire generations to come. David Mamet has given the world a signature voice; no playwright of any era can achieve more than this.