The honorary PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award confers a prize of $25,000 to a writer whose work exemplifies excellence and influence in the world of theater, television, or film.
The honorary award aims to highlight a writer whose transformative work enlightens and inspires audiences in the tradition of venerated comedian and filmmaker Mike Nichols, who died in 2014. In the spirit of Mike’s legacy, special attention will be paid to writing that breaks into new thematic or artistic ground.
Nominations are solicited from a panel of judges and should be ambitious in scope, effective in execution, and consequential and enduring in their impact on public discourse.
Tom Stoppard, 2020 Honoree
Tom Stoppard was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia in 1937 and moved to England, via Singapore and India, with his family in 1946. He began his working life in 1954 as a junior reporter on the Western Daily Press. In 1967, Stoppard’s first full-length play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, was staged by the National Theatre. This play was followed by other award-winning works, including Jumpers, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (with Andre Previn), Travesties, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia (a trilogy), Rock’n’Roll, The Hard Problem and Leopoldstadt. His many stage adaptations and translations include Undiscovered Country (Schnitzler), On the Razzle (Nestroy), Rough Crossing (Molnar), The Seagull (Chekhov), Henry IV (Pirandello), Heroes (Sibleyras), Ivanov (Chekhov) and The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov). Stoppard has also written for radio, television, and film. His screen credits, as writer and co-writer, include Brazil, Empire of the Sun, Enigma, and Shakespeare in Love, winner of an Academy Award for best original screenplay. He also directed his own screenplay of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Stoppard received a knighthood in 1997 and in 2000 was awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen.