Shortlist announced for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2021

A limited-edition Willem de Kooning print awaits the winner of the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

The highly-respected women+-only playwriting prize has just announced its 2021 shortlist, complied from over 160 international submissions.

The shortlist comprises (in alphabetical author order)

Glace Chase (Aus/US) – TRIPLE X

Erika Dickerson-Despenza (US) – CULLUD WATTAH

Miranda Rose Hall (US) – A PLAY FOR THE LIVING IN THE TIME OF EXTINCTION

Dawn King (UK) – THE TRIALS

Kimber Lee (US) – THE WATER PALACE

Janice Okoh (UK) – THE GIFT

Ife Olujobi (US) – JORDANS

Frances Poet (UK) – MAGGIE MAY

Jiehae Park (US) – THE AVES

Beth Steel (UK) – THE HOUSE OF SHADES

The big standout for me is the brilliant Janice Okoh play THE GIFT which describes itself as “an outrageous play about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation…and tea” Okoh’s play captures painfully and eloquently the past and present scars of British colonial racism. You can read my four-star review of the play here .

The show’s UK tour was sadly cut short due to the Covid shutdown, but it must return to ensure a wider audience has the chance to experience this unforgettable and important play.

Previous prize winners include Jackie Sibblies Drury for FAIRVIEW in 2019, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize (see my review of the Young Vic production here), and Lucy Prebble’s A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON won the Award in 2020.

The judges were director Natalie Abrahami, director Lileana Blain-Cruz, designer Bunny Christie, actor Paapa Essiedu, actor Jason Butler Harner and director Seema Sueko.

The winner will be announced in April and will receive $25,000 as well a s a limited edition Willem de Kooning print (pictured above). Each finalist receives $5,000.

To learn more about the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, visit their website by clicking here

Congratulations to all the shortlisted writers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *