For Master American Dramatist: ​Candidates are proposed by the judges; nominations are not accepted.

For American Playwright in Mid-career and Emerging American Playwright: Any playwright, writer, or member of the theater community may submit a nomination. However, a playwright may not nominate his or herself.

PEN and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater give three awards to playwrights in different stages of their careers. In all three cases, PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater honorees are writers working indisputably at the highest level of achievement. The three awards are for a master American Dramatist, an American Playwright in mid-career with an outstanding voice, and an emerging american playwright who demonstrates great promise.

Three playwrights are selected 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.

The awards were developed to reflect Laura Pels’s dedication to supporting excellence in American theater as well as PEN’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the playwright’s literary accomplishment. Click to view past winners of the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards »

 

Eligibility 


Submissions for the 2018 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2017 through September 15, 2017 

Eligible:

  • Master American Dramatist: ​Candidates are proposed by the judges; nominations are not accepted.
  • American Playwright in Mid-career:
    • Playwrights writing in English
    • Playwright must have had a professional production of at least two full-length works mounted in a theater of at least 299 seats and contracted specifically for either limited or open runs.
    • The work of writers produced by regional theaters across the United States will be given consideration equal to work produced in major metropolitan centers.
  • Emerging American Playwright:
    • Playwrights writing in English
    • Playwrights who have had a professional production of at least one full-length work contracted specifically for either limited or open runs.
    • The work of writers produced by regional theaters across the United States will be given consideration equal to work produced in major metropolitan centers.

NOT Eligible:

  • American Playwright in Mid-Career & Emerging American Playwright:
    • Authors who have written only one-acts or books for musicals
    • Authors who have only translated the works of others for English-language audiences

 

Nomination


  • Master American Dramatist: ​Candidates are proposed by the judges; nominations are not accepted.
  • American Playwright in Mid-career and Emerging American Playwright: Any playwright, writer, or member of the theater community may submit a nomination. However, a playwright may not nominate his or herself.
  • The nomination form will require:
    • A statement of support that describes in some detail how the playwright meets the criteria for the award.
    • Detailed information on the playwright’s past publications and productions.
  • Nominations will be accepted at the links below:

Click here to nominate an American Playwright in Mid-career.

Click here to nominate an Emerging American Playwright.