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Lisa Kron, Christopher Durang, Jennifer Westfeldt and More Set for Tonight's Leah Ryan Benefit

Leah Ryan's FEWW is hosting an evening of celebratory cocktails and performances tonight, October 6 at Joe's Pub in New York. The benefit will commemorate the fifth year of Leah Ryan's Fund for Emerging Women Writers and the announcement of The Vladimir, a new emergency fund for writers facing medical emergencies. Hosted by Lisa Kron and directed by Leigh Silverman, the party will feature performances by, among others, Julie White, Christopher Durang, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Jennifer Westfeldt. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased through the website: For information call Tessa LaNeve at 917-841-4879. Joe's Pub is located at 425 Lafayette St, New York, NY.

Leah Ryan's Fund for Emerging Women Writers (FEWW) and its annual prize were established in 2008 to honor the memory of Leah Ryan and to support the work of women writers.

The annual Leah Ryan Award intends to encourage brilliant and unrecognized women playwrights with both an annual cash prize and a New York City showcase of the winning work. The purpose of the prize is to perpetuate the integrity, compassion, and creativity that Leah herself possessed and inspired in others. Past recipients include Laura Marks (Bethany), Megan Mostyn-Brown (The Rest of Your Life), Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo), Jen Silverman (The Moors), and Rachel Teagle (The Ever and After). The Leah Ryan Award is presented each Spring at the Lillys, an annual award honoring the work of women in the American Theater.

Beginning in January of 2015, the FEWW will be offering The Vladimir Award, a new emergency fund for writers facing medical emergencies. At the beginning of her treatment for leukemia and with her characteristic humor, Leah Ryan named her IV pole Vladimir, a nod to the Russian writers she loved. It was Leah's wish that this emergency fund be created. Details to follow on the FEWW website.

Leah Ryan was a playwright, essayist, writer of post-modern greeting cards, and a general woman of letters. Her plays have been performed all over the United States. Her play Bleach, a dark comedy about the legacy of the Armenian genocide, received the Maibaum Award for plays dealing with issues of social justice. Ryan taught playwriting, English, and creative writing to a wide variety of students, including those at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, where she was a professor in the Arts and Communications department and founder of their Writing Center.

Leah Ryan died of leukemia at the age of 44 on June 12, 2008, in New York City.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski

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