Will Eno and Adam Rapp

Read excerpts from Middletown (Will Eno) and Through the Yellow Hour (Adam Rapp)

The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards 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. 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

Will Eno, has been called by The New York Times “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” His work reaches audiences across nations and cultures. After premiering at The Gate Theatre in London, his play The Flu Season opened in New York and received the Oppenheimer Award for the best debut production by an American playwright in 2004. His other plays include Tragedy: a tragedy, King: a problem play, and Eno’s most widely celebrated work, Thom Pain (based on nothing), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. He is a Helen Merrill Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, and the first-ever recipient of the Marian Seldes/Garson Kanin Fellowship by the Theater Hall of Fame.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp is an American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and film director. He has become known for creating incisive, heart-grabbing works that push the emotional boundaries of American theatre. Rapp has written over twenty plays, including Red Light Winter which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work for its production at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Rapp’s books include The Year of Endless Sorrows and Ball Peen Hammer, plus novels for young adults and a graphic novel.

Past Winners

Richard Greenberg, Paula Vogel, Suzan-Lori Parks, Charles Mee, Jr., Tony Kushner, Craig Lucas, Lynn Nottage, Dael Orlandersmith, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Naomi Iizuka, Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz, Theresa Rebeck, and Marcus Gardley