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The National Arts Club Awards $25,000 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting to Mona Mansour


Award includes two-week residency at the historic clubhouse and a one-year membership.

The National Arts Club Awards $25,000 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting to Mona Mansour

The 2020 Kesselring Prize for playwriting-a $25,000 award given annually to an outstanding playwright deserving of national recognition-will be given this year to Mona Mansour, it has been announced by The National Arts Club, which has bestowed the award since 1980. The Prize, which includes a two-week residency and a one-year membership at the historic club in New York City's Gramercy Park, will be presented at a virtual ceremony to be held later this year (date TBA).

Ms. Mansour-who was nominated for the Kesselring by Seattle Rep for her play THE HOUR OF FEELING (from her THE VAGRANT TRILOGY)-is the author of the recent works WE SWIM, WE TALK, WE GO TO WAR (Golden Thread Theatre, San Francisco), and BEGINNING DAYS OF TRUE JUBILATION (New Ohio's Ice Factory).

THE VAGRANT TRILOGY (first presented at the Mosaic Theater in 2018), was set to make its NYC debut in March 2020 at The Public Theater but was postponed due to Covid-19, with a new opening date TBA. Past works include URGE FOR GOING (The Public Theater), and THE WAY WEST (Steppenwolf, Marin Theatre and LAByrinth Theater). Ms. Mansour collaborates frequently with director Mark Wing-Davey. Ms. Mansour is a Lebanese-American and writes frequently about the Middle East. She leads a playwrights group of Middle-Eastern Americans in conjunction with the Lark Theatre, is a member of New Dramatists and a co-founder of the new theater collective, Society.

Chairman of the National Arts Club's Kesselring Prize committee David Glanstein notes that Ms. Monsour is the third woman in the past four years to receive the Kesselring Prize, along with Inda Craig Galvan, Lauren Yee and Lindsey Farrentino. Past recipients of the Kesselring include James Ijames, Tracy Scott Wilson, Lucas Hnath, Rajiv Joseph, Anna Deavere Smith, Deb Margolin, Nicky Silver, and Melissa James Gibson.

Alice Palmisano, President of The National Arts Club, states, "During this unprecedented time when live theater has been suspended, our club and the Kesselring committee know that writers continue to write, and it is more important than ever before that we help them keep writing as we move forward. It is a thrill to give this award to Mona Mansour in the 40th year of the Kesselring Prize."

Ms. Mansour states, "When you're a playwright, you anticipate the ripple effect your words and ideas have with audiences when they see the play, but with the theater on pause at it has been, it is especially exhilarating that the language of the play still resonates in a way that has led to this great honor. Being awarded the Kesselring is incredibly gratifying."

The Kesselring Prize was established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring - widow of the playwright Joseph Kesselring (ARSENIC AND OLD LACE) - to honor and support emerging writers who are not yet nationally recognized, and provide them with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their new work.

Each year, the National Arts Club invites nonprofit theatres across the U.S. to nominate an emerging playwright for the Kesselring Prize, which is then selected by a committee that includes the Tony Award-winning playwright John Guare, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Lincoln Center Theater dramaturg Anne Cattaneo, recipient of the 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship in Theater Arts. Michael Parva, artistic director of The Directors Company in NYC, has been the Kesselring Prize artistic director since its inception in 1980.

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