Three awards from PEN and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater honor a Grand Master of American Theater, a mid-career playwright with an outstanding voice, and an emerging playwright who demonstrates great promise. The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for Master American Dramatist recognizes a master playwright with the presentation of a specially commissioned art object.


The winners will be announced on February 22, 2017.


Oskar Eustis has served as the Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005, after serving as the Artistic Director at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI from 1994 to 2005. Throughout his career, Eustis has been dedicated to the development of new work that speaks to the great issues of our time, and has worked with countless artists in pursuit of that aim, from Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks to David Henry Hwang and Lin-Manual Miranda. He is currently a Professor of Dramatic Writing and Arts and Public Policy at New York University; and has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University.

Michael C. Hall currently stars as Thomas Newton in David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s “Lazarus” at London’s King’s Cross Theatre. Broadway: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Realistic Joneses, Chicago, Cabaret. Off-Broadway: Lazarus, Mr. Marmalade, Cymbeline, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Henry V, The English Teachers, Corpus Christi, Romeo and Juliet, R Shoman, Skylight. Television: “Dexter,“ “Six Feet Under.” Film: Cold in July, Kill Your Darlings, Christine (current), Felt (forthcoming).

Young Jean Lee has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a PEN Literary Award. Her short film Here Come the Girls was presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest.

Past Winners

Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Lanford Wilson, Wallace Shawn, Adrienne Kennedy, A. R. Gurney, Richard Nelson, Sam Shepard, David Mamet, David Henry Hwang, Christopher Durang, Larry Kramer, David Rabe, Tina Howe, and Lynn Nottage.

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