The two English playwrights share the prize, splitting the two top cash awards (of $10,000 and the Special Commendation of $2,000). The 28th annual honor recognizes the women dramatist whose works represent outstanding quality for the English speaking theatre. Each of the other nine finalists receive $1,000.
The remaining finalists (and works for which they are nominated for) are as follows:
Kira Obolensky - Modern House Bullmore's Mammals, the first stage play for the London-born actress-turned scribe, premiered at London's Bush Theatre last spring and is currently on tour in England. The works is "a comedy about telling or not telling, the dangers of home and the disproportionately towering presence of children."
The Sugar Wife, Kuti's third offering, debuted in Dublin, Ireland's Rough Magic theatre company in 2005 and played London's Soho Theatre in 2006. Set in an 1850 Dublin Quaker community, the play tells of a women "torn between her work with the city's poor and her husband's prospering business: a string of oriental teahouses." Judges for the 2006 awards include actors Blair Brown and Lindsay Duncan, Lincoln Center Theatre dramaturge Anne Cattaneo, Playwrights Horizons artistic director Tim Sanford, Royal National Theatre literary manager Jack Bradley and Newcastle's Northern Stage chief executive Erica Whyman.
Playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti won last year's 27th annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her work Behzti (Dishonour). Other recipients of the honor include Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House, Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman, Susan Miller's A Map of Doubt and Rescue, Gina Gionfriddo's U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter's Fall, Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy, Jessica Goldberg's Refuge, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive and Moira Buffini's Silence.
The Susan Smith Blackburn Award, named for the noted American actress and writer, was established in 1978. Submissions for this year's prize include works penned in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Plays are eligible whether or not they have been produced, but any first production must have taken place within the preceding twelve months. This year's finalists were chosen from approximately 90 submissions.