David Rabe

The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards recognize three playwrights  for the following honors: a specially commissioned art object will be presented to a master American dramatist, in recognition of his or her body of work; a cash prize of $7,500 will be awarded to an American playwright in mid-career, whose literary achievements are vividly apparent in the rich and striking language of his or her work; and a cash prize of $2,500 will be awarded to an emerging American playwright whose work to date has demonstrated initial critical success and poses great promise of further dramatic achievement.

2014 Judges

John Lithgow, Elizabeth Streb, and Maria Tucci

From the Judges’ Citation

We recall the harrowing experience of first encountering Rabe’s plays, some forty years ago. In our opinion, they have withstood the test of time and will remain a powerful record of American life for decades to come. Rabe’s early works were produced under the aegis of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater during the 1970s. More than any other writer, he has come to define that extraordinary decade of bold, creative achievement at the Public. The great Rabe war trilogy – “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel,” “Streamers,” and the Tony-winning “Sticks and Bones” – present a searing vision of the Vietnam War years unmatched by any other playwright. But the trauma of Vietnam has not been his only subject. A few years later, “Hurly Burly” arrived on Broadway, offering up a mordant, unflinching portrait of the stoned-out anomie of Hollywood in the 1980’s, reflecting the uneasy state of society at large. Recent revivals of Rabe’s plays have confirmed their craft, compassion, and staying power. Taken together, the judges feel that they place him firmly in the ranks of Master American Dramatists.

Past winners

Arthur Miller and Richard Greenberg, Edward Albee and Paula Vogel, Horton Foote and Suzan-Lori Parks, Richard Foreman and Charles Mee Jr., Maria Irene Fornes and Tony Kushner, John Guare and Craig Lucas, Lanford Wilson and Lynn Nottage, Wallace Shawn and Dale Orlandersmith, Adrienne Kennedy and Stephen Adly Guirgis, A.R Gurney and Naomi Iizuka, Richard Nelson and Sarah Ruhl, Sam Shepard and Nilo Cruz, David Mamet and Theresa Rebeck, David Henry Hwang and Marcus Gardley, Christopher Durang and Will Eno and Adam Rapp, Larry Kramer and Kirsten Greenridge.

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.