PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award

The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award, commonly referred to as the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award, is awarded by the PEN America (formerly PEN American Center). It annually recognizes two American playwrights. A medal is given to a designated "grand master" American dramatist, in recognition of their work, and a stipend of $7,500 (in 2005) is presented to a "new voice", an American playwright whose literary and artistic merit is evident in their plays.

"Two 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; and 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. In both cases, PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater honorees are writers working indisputably at the highest level of achievement. The awards were developed to reflect Laura Pels’s dedication to supporting excellence in American theatre as well as PEN’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the playwright's literary accomplishment."

The Master American Dramatist Award is not open to nominations but is chosen by the judges panel. The Mid-Career Award is open to peer nominations (i.e., not by the playwrights themselves), but the playwrights must meet certain criteria: they must be American and write in English; they can be from regional theaters as long as they have had two full-length productions mounted under either open- or limited-run contracts and in theaters with at least 299 seats. Specifically excluded are playwrights who write one-acts, musical-books, or translations.

The award is one of many PEN awards sponsored by International PEN affiliates in over 145 PEN centers around the world. The PEN American Center awards have been characterized as being among the "major" American literary prizes.[1]

Award winnersEdit


  1. ^ Alfred Bendixen (2005). "Literary Prizes and Awards". The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 689.
  2. ^ LAWRENCE VAN GELDER (May 9, 1998). "Arthur Miller Gets Award From PEN". New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  3. ^ Ron Charles (July 30, 2014). "Winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards". Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "2014 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for Master American Dramatist". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "2014 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "2014 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an Emerging American Playwright". pen.oreg. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (May 13, 2015). "PEN announces award-winners and shortlists". LA Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Award Winners". Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Maggie Galehouse (March 1, 2016). "PEN Literary Award winners announced". Chron. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  10. ^ "2016 PEN Literary Award Winners". PEN. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "2018 PEN America Lifetime and Career Achievement Honorees". PEN America. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. ^ "PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award". PEN America. Retrieved 8 February 2019.

External linksEdit