PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award

PEN America and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater awards an American Playwright in mid-career with an outstanding voice working indisputably at the highest level of achievement. The award was developed to reflect Laura Pels’s dedication to supporting excellence in American theater as well as PEN America’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the playwright’s literary accomplishment.


Larissa Fasthorse



Judges: Craig Lucas, Jacob G. Padron, Condola Rashad

From the judges’ citation: “One of the remarkable things about Larissa FastHorse’s work includes her prolific output—17 plays in a little over a decade—as well as the range of her tales in contrasting tones and affect. Her abiding theme appears to be the making of modern families, bridging divergent communities, histories, languages, cultures. . . . FastHorse educates, tweaks, embraces, outrages and dances, sometimes all in a single scene. . . . She deserves to be much more widely known.”



Previous Winners

2019 Larissa FastHorse

2018 Sibyl Kempson

2017 Tarell Alvin McCraney

2016 Young Jean Lee

2015 Anne Washburn

2014 Donald Marguiles

2013 Kirsten Greenidge

2012 Will Eno and Adam Rapp

2011 Marcus Gardley

2010 Theresa Rebeck

2009 Nilo Cruz

2008 Sarah Ruhl

2007 Naomi Iizuka

2006 Stephen Adly Guirgis

2005 Dael Orlandersmith

2004 Lynn Nottage

2003 Craig Lucas

2002 Tony Kushner

2001 Charles Mee, Jr.

2000 Suzan-Lori Parks

1999 Paula Vogel

1998 Richard Greenberg



Selection Process

Please note that any playwright, writer, or member of the theater community may submit a nomination for a Mid-career Playwright.