The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced the ten finalists for the 2022 playwriting award. The prize, now in its 44th year, is the oldest and largest playwriting award for women+ playwrights.
More than 160 plays were submitted from around the world for consideration and read by an international reading committee that selects the finalists. Finalists for 2022 are Chiara Atik from the U.S. for Poor Clare; Daniella De Jesús from the U.S. for Get Your Pink Hands Off Me Sucka and Give Me Back (FKA Columbus Play); Sarah Hanly from Ireland for Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks; Zora Howard from the U.S. for BUST; Sonya Kelly from Ireland for The Last Return; Benedict Lombe from the U.K. for Lava; Joanna Murray-Smith from Australia for Berlin; Kae Tempest from the U.K. for Paradise; Lauren Whitehead from the U.S. for The Play Which Raises the Question of What Happened in/to Low Income Black Communities between 1974 and 2004 And Hints at Why Mass Incarceration is Perhaps a Man-Made Disease And Highlights the Government’s General Lack of Empathy for Poor People of Color And Dispels the Notion that Our Condition is Our Fault And Helps Make Visible Why We Riot When We Mourn And also Tells the Story of Anita Freeman & her Kids; and Amanda Wilkin from the U.K. for Shedding a Skin.
“This has been a phenomenal year for new voices in playwriting. Two of our finalists are debut plays, and nine are first-time finalists for this prize. All of the plays are highly theatrical and probe the burning issues of our times," said Leslie Swackhamer, executive director of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
The winner, to be announced in April, will be selected by an international judges panel including actor-writer-producer Adjoa Andoh (U.K.); playwright and associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group, Luis Alfaro (U.S.); writer, director, and artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre, Justin Audibert (U.K.); Olivier- and Tony-winning lighting designer, Paule Constable (U.K.); actor Saidah Arrika Ekulona (U.S.); and Obie and Lilly award-winning director Whitney White (U.S.).
The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000, and will receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000.
Past winners of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize include Erika Dickerson-Despenza's Cullud Wattah, Lynn Nottage's Sweat, Lucy Prebble's A Very Expensive Poison, Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview, Annie Baker's The Flick, Caryl Churchill’s Fen and Serious Money, Marsha Norman’s ‘night,Mother, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Katori Hall's Hurt Village, Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, and Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House.