Irish writer among finalists for prestigious playwright award

Irish writer among finalists for prestigious playwright award

IRISH writer Katie Holly features among 10 finalists vying for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2023.

The prestigious playwriting award, the oldest and largest international prize awarded to women+ playwrights, comes with a $25,000 prize for the winner, with each finalist receiving $5,000.

Announced today, the finalists for 2023 are Anupama Chandrasekhar (India) for The Father and the Assassin, Maryam Hamidi (UK) for Moonset, Karen Hartman (US) for New Golden Age, Katie Holly (Ireland) for Her Hand on the Trellis,  Kimber Lee (US) for Saturday, Sarah Mantell (US) for In the Amazon Warehouse Parking Lot, a.k. payne (US) for Amani, Francisca Da Silveira (US) for Pay No Worship, Zadie Smith (UK) for The Wife of Willesden, and Ruby Thomas (UK) for Linck & Mülhahn.

The winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2023 will be announced on March 27

Representing Ireland in the shortlist, Katie Holly’s first three plays Marion (2016), Sharon (2017) and Crowman (2018) all premiered at the Cork Midsummer Festival before going on to tour Ireland regionally and/or nationally.

Sharon was recorded and broadcast as a radio play for RTE Radio 1 and won a New York Festival Silver Award for Best Digital Drama in 2019.

In 2021, Ms Holly received a theatre bursary for the development of her work and began writing Her Hand on the Trellis.

The Irish playwright, who is a graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies at University College Cork, is a participant in the Maven's Playwright Program, a professional development programme providing career support for female-identifying writers, and is currently completing a residency at Cork’s Everyman Theatre under the mentorship of Enda Walsh.

The winner of the 2023 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be named at the Award Presentation and 45th Anniversary Celebration due to be held on March 27 at Playwrights Horizons in New York City.

They will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 and a limited edition signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Prize.

Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000.

Founded in 1978, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is awarded annually to celebrate women+ who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre.

Women+ includes women, transgender and non-binary playwrights.

An international panel of six Judges chooses the winning play from amongst the finalists.

For 2023, the panel includes writer Julia Cho, stage director Rebecca Frecknall, choreographer/director Raja Feather Kelly, theatrical producer and President of the Society of London Theatre, Eleanor Lloyd, actor/director/writer Lucian Msamati and star of stage and screen, Amy Ryan.