Martyna Majok and Mona Mansour have been named winners of the 2023 Steinberg Playwright Awards, also known as the "Mimi" Awards. The honor, for early-to-mid-career playwrights, includes a $100,000 grant for each winner. The awards are a program of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
"This honor is genuinely life-changing," says Majok in a statement. "I’m grateful beyond measure for the artistic possibilities this award gifts me and the drive it’s strengthened in me to continue telling stories. To be included in this extraordinary company of inspiring playwrights, these great creators of the American Theatre, is overwhelmingly humbling. Thank you with all my heart to the Steinberg Charitable Trust for their incredible commitment to our art form—and for their immensely generous belief in me. I’m still reeling and occasionally weeping with gratitude."
"It's with enormous gratitude that I thank the Steinberg Trust for this honor they've granted me for my work," adds Mansour. "In the midst of a highly unstable time in theatre, this award comes as an enormous gift. I’m deeply grateful to the selection committee for giving me the chance to continue to dream up worlds, to follow my curiosity wherever it takes me—to the Middle East and beyond. It's an honor to join the esteemed list of diverse and talented artists who've received this award."
Majok, who has had productions with Manhattan Theatre Club and Lincoln Center Theater, is a 2018 Pulitzer winner for her play Cost of Living, which made its Broadway debut last season. Other works include Sanctuary City, Queens, and Ironbound. Mansour's works include The Vagrant Trilogy and Unseen, both produced Off-Broadway by The Public Theater.
"Mona Mansour tackles some of the toughest issues on the planet—not least the Palestine/Israel conflic—with tremendous empathy, gorgeous language, deep compassion, and nuanced insights. Her integrity is deeply impressive, and her achievements striking," shares Advisory Committee member and Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "Martyna Majok is an utterly unique voice. An immigrant from Eastern Europe, she creates characters who struggle to do right, despite enormous deprivations: financial, educational, and cultural. She ennobles people whom society marginalizes, restoring agency and heroic status to all. Her plays are intimate but epic, tremendously granular about human behavior, while linking that behavior to the deepest human dilemmas. She is one of our greats."
Along with Eustis, the 2023 Advisory Committee comprised The Playwrights' Center Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen, Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Snehal Desai, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes, dramaturg Sarah Lunnie, Atlantic Theater Company Artistic Director Neil Pepe, and Arena Stage Artistic Director Hana S. Sharif.