British playwright Lucy Kirkwood has been announced as the winner of this year’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which “recognizes women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theater.”
Kirkwood was honored for Chimerica, which ran in London’s West End last year. The three-hour play is a moral and political look at Chinese-American relations, locating its focal point in fictional photojournalist Joe Schofield, who was one of several to snap a picture of the man defying the rolling tanks at Tiananmen Square in 1989. The present-day Schofield sets off to find that man, a decision that leads to larger questions about journalistic responsibility and the possibilities of political change.
As the Blackburn awardee, Kirkwood will receive $25,000 and a signed print by artist Willem de Kooning.