Max Yu has been named the 2019 winner of the American Playwriting Foundation's Relentless Award. The 22-year-old writer picked up the fifth annual accolade for his work Nightwatch, which he wrote as a senior at the University of California in Los Angeles.
The award, presented in honor of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, comes with a $45,000 grant, a week-long residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm, as well as multiple development opportunities through the Relentless Reading Series.
The play, written in both English and Chinese, follows a young Chinese-American man who, in the wake of losing his father, sets out to investigate his role in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The play is in part inspired by Yu's own family and experiences, having spent a summer in China during his research, during which time he visited the factory where his father once worked.
This year's finalists were Mia Chung for This Exquisite Corpse and John J. Caswell Jr. for Wet Brain. Past winners include Aleshea Harris for Is God Is, Clare Barron for Dance Nation, and Sarah DeLappe for The Wolves.