Playwrights Dominique Morisseau (Pipeline) and Jasmine Lee-Jones (seven methods of killing kylie jenner) have been selected the 2023 drama winners of the Windham-Campbell Prize, a prestigious annual award for literary achievement across multiple mediums. Prize recipients share $1.4 million‚ $175,000 each, to support their work.
Tony nominee Morisseau is being recognized for her large body of work, which includes the Detroit Project plays, Pipeline, Sunset Baby, Blood at the Root, and Follow Me to Nellie's, along with the book to jukebox musical Ain't Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations and TV's Shameless. Lee-Jones becomes the youngest-ever Windham-Campbell recipient at the age of 24. Her debut play seven methods of killing kylie jenner has played productions worldwide since premiering in London in 2019.
Also honored are novelists Percival Everett and Ling Ma, historian and writer Susan Williams, essayist and memoirist Darran Anderson, and poets Alexis Pauline Gumbs and dg nanouk okpik (the first-ever Iñupiaq-Inuit Windham-Campbell recipient).
"With all going on in the world, it is beyond joyous to learn that my work and voice matters and I'm being encouraged to continue on!," shares Morisseau in a statement. "As an artist, the ability to continue to make a living telling stories is vital to my growth and mission in life, and awards like these help to make a pathway for my creativity and passion to thrive. It's thrilling and inspiring!"
The selection committee for the drama winners, an anonymous group, praised Morisseau's works for their "nuanced characters and trenchant stories" that "strike at the heart of the most pressing conversations facing African Americans today, embodying a steadfast belief in the transformative power of love and art." Of Lee-Jones' plays, the committee said they "reinvigorate the vernacular of contemporary theatre for a new generation."
"I'm honestly still flabbergasted that the universe (and of course the Windham-Campbell Prizes) has made a path for me to forge my dreams on my own terms," adds Lee-Jones. "Recently, I was feeling so disheartened by the seemingly countless amount of hurdles one is required to overcome to secure funding to pursue creative projects in this industry. Now facing the reality that I can pursue those dreams without any of those hurdles for a while, is not only affirming but also moving on a deeply spiritual level."
The Windham-Campbell Prize was established in 2013 following a significant gift from Donald Windham in memory of his partner, Sandy Campbell. Visit WindhamCampbell.org.