From over 700 applicants, the Public has chosen Radha Blank, Leila Buck, Raúl Castillo, Chris Cragin Day, Christina Gorman, Ethan Lipton, Alejandro Morales, Nick Nanna Hadikwa Mwaluko, Don Nguyen, Akin Salawu, Alladin Ullah and Pia Wilson as the first group to take part in the new initiative to cultivate and nurture playwrights at each stage of their career. Time Warner serves as the founding sponsor of The Public Writers Initiative. In addition to receiving a $3,000 stipend, the playwrights will participate in a biweekly writers group helmed by associate artistic director Mandy Hackett in conjunction with the Public's Literary Department, and attend master classes with established playwrights. Participants will also observe or assist playwrights in rehearsal for productions at the Public. The Public staff and various successful writers will provide developmental and artistic support. The Emerging Writers will also present their works in at least one reading at The Public. They will receive complimentary tickets to Public performances as well as supplemental stipends for tickets to productions at other theatres.
Oskar Eustis, artistic director for the Public, commented, "The EWG is our effort to fling open the doors of the Public to talented young writers who haven't had access to the mainstream theatrical community. Writers are the lifeblood of the theatre, and the voice of the people – with the EWG we hope to give a new burst of diverse energy to the American theatre."
Among the noted playwrights who have seen their works developed at the Public are John Guare, Suzan-Lori Parks, David Rabe, Christopher Durang, Wallace Shawn, Ntozake Shange, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner and Nilo Cruz. The Public has also produced such plays and musicals as Hair; Sticks and Bones; For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf; The Colored Museum; Topdog/Underdog; Caroline, Or Change; and A Chorus Line.