Playwright Naomi Wallace has won the prestigious fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award, sometimes called the "genius grant," carries a $240,000 prize with no stipulations as to how the recipient is to spend the money.
Wallace's best-known work is One Flea Spare, which played at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, KY, before winning the 1996 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and 1997 Best Play Obie for its mounting at the Public Theater. Wallace latest play, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is currently having its New York debut at The New York Theatre Workshop.
In Trestle, two teenagers plan to risk their lives in a race across a railroad trestle against an oncoming locomotive, which causes ripples in a small, Depression-era factory town. Other plays by Wallace include Birdy and Slaughter City.
-- By Sean McGrath