British Playwright Moss Wins 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize | Playbill

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News British Playwright Moss Wins 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize The 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was awarded to British playwright Chloë Moss Feb. 25 at a private reception in London. Moss, a Liverpool native, won the prestigious award for her play This Wide Night.

Blackburn Prize judge Sigourney Weaver presented Moss with an award of $20,000 and a signed and numbered print by artist Willem de Kooning.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is given annually to "recognize women from around the world who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre," according to press notes.

Also honored at the Feb. 25 event was British playwright Lucinda Coxon, who received a Special Commendation Award of $5,000 for her play Happy Now?.

This Wide Night, according to playwright Moss, "explores the importance and uniqueness of relationships formed in prison: how they can, or perhaps cannot, exist in another context; and also resettlement – when 'freedom' can actually feel like a very bleak and frightening prospect."
The play was commissioned and produced by Clean Break and premiered at The Soho Theatre, London.

Happy Now?, according to press notes, is a "wise, witty, and observant play about a woman's struggle to have it all - family, personal freedom, fidelity and career." The play premiered at the Royal National Theatre and received its U.S. premiere at Yale Repertory Theater. Finalists for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize also included Anupama Chandrasekhar - Free Outgoing (India), Ann Marie Healy - What Once We Felt (U.S.), Michele Lowe - Inana (U.S.), Elizabeth Meriwether - Oliver! (U.S.), Lynn Nottage - Ruined (U.S.), Kaite O'Reilly - The Almond and the Seahorse (Wales), Amy Rosenthal - On The Rocks (England) and Esther Wilson – Ten Tiny Toes (England). Each of the finalists received an award of $1,000.

In addition to Weaver the panel of judges included Edward Albee, Peter Gill, Jenny Jules, Emily Mann and Genista McIntosh.

Chloë Moss' plays include A Day in Dull Armour, How Love Is Spelt (Special Commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004), Christmas Is Miles Away, The Way Home and Catch. She is currently under commission to Paines Plough, the Royal Court and Liverpool Everyman.

Moss' Christmas Is Miles Away will be presented by the Babel Theatre Project in May at Off-Broadway's Connelly Theatre.


The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize "reflects the values and interests of Susan Smith Blackburn, noted American actress and writer who lived in London during the last 15 years of her life." She died in 1977 at the age of 42.

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