The awards, which include a $50,000 cash prize, have been given annually since 1985 to writers of exceptional talent and promise in early career.
Adjmi's Stunning was produced by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and then by Lincoln Center Theater in 2009. He is at work on a book for HarperCollins and lives in Brooklyn.
Adjmi's plays include Strange Attractors (Empty Space Theatre), The Evildoers (Yale Rep), Elective Affinities (Royal Court, RSC/Stratford and Soho Theatre), Marie Antoinette (Sundance/Public NYSF Residency) and Caligula (Soho Rep). In 2009, he won the Kesselring Fellowship.
He attended Sarah Lawrence College, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and The Juilliard School. His plays have earned a Bush Artist's fellowship, and Jerome, McKnight, Cherry Lane Theatre, and Kesselring fellowships as well as a Helen Merrill Award, a Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Award, a Lecomte du Nouy Award, and a Steinberg Playwright Award.
The Whiting selection committee saw in Adjmi "a truly theatrical imagination. His plays come charging to life in front of a live audience. He does things with embodied language that few young playwrights even think to try. Wildly inventive feats of juxtaposition and wit drive these pieces as they scoff at the foolish consistencies of a too-too tidy dramaturgy." The nine other writers recognized this year for "their extraordinary talent and promise" were Elif Batuman, nonfiction; Michael Dahlie, fiction; Matt Donovan, poetry; Rattawut Lapcharoensap, fiction; Amy Leach, nonfiction; Lydia Peelle, fiction; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, nonfiction; Jane Springer, poetry; and LB Thompson, poetry.
Past Whiting winners include Jonathan Franzen, Sarah Ruhl, Michael Cunningham, Cristina Garcia, Justin Cronin, Luc Sante, Geoffrey O'Brien, Allegra Goodman, Andre Aciman, Nell Freudenberger, Howard Norman, Suzan-Lori Parks, Mark Doty, Franz Wright, and Colson Whitehead.
The 2010 recipients were announced at a ceremony at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York on Oct. 27. The keynote speaker of the evening was Peter Matthiessen, the award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, explorer and naturalist.
To learn more about the Whiting Foundation and the selection process for the Whiting Writers' Awards, visit the website at www.whitingfoundation.org.