Sarah Mantell wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Published: 2 April 2023
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Sarah Mantell Credit: Walls Trimble

The US playwright Sarah Mantell has won The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for In the Amazon Warehouse Parking Lot.

Mantell, who will receive $25,000, and a signed limited-edition print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, is the first non-binary playwright to win the prize which this year celebrates its 45th anniversary.

They describe their prize-winning play as “a play about queer aging, capitalism, campfires and falling in love as the world ends”; it has a cast for seven women, trans and non-binary actors, all over 50.

In the Amazon Warehouse Parking Lot was chosen from a shortlist of ten selected from almost two hundred submissions by a panel including writer Julia Cho, stage director Rebecca Frecknall, choreographer / director Raja Feather Kelly, producer Eleanor Lloyd, actor / director / writer Lucian Msamati and actor Amy Ryan.

Those shortlisted are:

  • Anupama Chandrasekhar (India) The Father and the Assassin
  • Maryam Hamidi (UK) Moonset
  • Karen Hartman (US) New Golden Age
  • Katie Holly (Ireland) Her Hand on the Trellis
  • Kimber Lee (US) saturday
  • a.k. payne (US) Amani
  • Francisca Da Silveira (US) Pay No Worship
  • Zadie Smith (UK) The Wife of Willesden
  • Ruby Thomas (UK) Linck & Mülhahn

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is an international award recognizing outstanding writing for English-speaking theatre by women+ (women+ includes trans and non-binary playwrights).

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