Cruz will receive the award April 12, in Sarasota, FL, at a dinner where Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis will be the keynote speaker.
The prize consists of a $30,000 commission to create a new work of art to be fulfilled by the artist in two years, as well as time and space to create the piece at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL. The prize also includes a first public presentation by a professional arts organization in Sarasota, FL, and help to promote the work.
"Three remarkable and very different playwrights were short-listed as our finalists this year," Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage, said in a statement. "Our very distinguished jury had a very hard decision to make. In the end they selected Nilo Cruz for the poetic nature of his work and where he stands in his career at this time. We are very pleased and look forward to officially presenting the Greenfield Prize to Nilo, the first Florida artist, and first Latino artist to receive the Greenfield Prize."
Cruz's writing credits include Anna in the Tropics, Lorca in a Green Dress, Night Train to Bolina, A Bicycle Country, Dancing on Her Knees, A Park in Our House, Two Sisters and A Piano and Hortensia and The Museum of Dreams.
“I am very grateful for the Greenfield award," Cruz said in a statement. "It was a total surprise. I think in this case it is not only a recognition of the work I have written in the past, but more an award that comes full of inspiration for the stories I want to unravel in the future and the characters that are waiting to be represented through the word and ultimately on the stage. With this award comes the continual recognition and trust of 'Latino' playwrights that in the last decades have been acquiring a place in North American theatres. Sometimes 'Latinos' might only be perceived as exiles and immigrants in search of freedom and financial stability, but we also come to this land with suitcases full of paintings, novels and plays, the substance and observation of the imagination. The gifts of art." The selection jury is chaired by Carey Perloff, Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Emily Mann. Michael Donald Edwards, Joni Greenfield and Bruce E. Rodgers were also involved in the discussion.
Visit GreenfieldPrize.org for more information.