Playwrights Larry Kramer and Kirsten Greenidge have been named winners of 2013 PEN Literary Awards. Kramer received the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist, and Greenidge received the Pels Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career. The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at CUNY Graduate Center on October 21.
Kramer’s citation noted that “with plays like The Destiny of Me and The Normal Heart, he has made the theater into a personal and political forum like no other writer of his age,” adding that The Normal Heart demonstrated “that theater can, indeed, change the world, save lives and move audiences to action.” Kramer will receive a rare first edition of dramatic literature from Bauman’s Rare Books.
Greenidge’s citation praised her plays as “inherently political and provocative, while also deliciously funny. Kirsten gives voice to largely under-represented characters, placing them in compellingly inventive, yet achingly familiar worlds.” She is the author of Luck of the Irish (produced last season by Lincoln Center Theater), Milk Like Sugar (produced in 2011 at Playwrights Horizons), Rust, Bossa Nova, Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land and Gibson Girl. Greenidge will receive a $7,500 stipend.
The PEN Literary Awards, which also include prizes for fiction, poetry and multiple categories of nonfiction, are bestowed by PEN America, an association of writers with the goal of advancing literature and defending free expression. The playwriting category was judged by Tony-winning director Pam MacKinnon, Chris McElroen and Tim McHenry.