Past Presentation: Chicago Tribune Literary Prize (2009)
Tony Kushner’s plays include A Bright Room Called Day (1985); Angels in America, Parts One and Two (1991, 1992); Slavs! (1994); Homebody/Kabul (2001); and Caroline, or Change (2002). He has written adaptations of Pierre Corneille’s L’Illusion Comique (1636) called The Illusion (1990); S. Ansky's A Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds (1997); and Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Sezuan (1997) and Mother Courage and Her Children (2006); as well as English-language libretti for the operas Brundibar by Hans Krasa and The Comedy on the Bridge by Bohuslav Martinu (2005). He also wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols’s film version of Angels in America (2003) and Steven Spielberg’s film Munich (2005). His books include Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness (1995); Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak (2003); The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present (2003); and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon (2003). His most recent play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, made its world premiere at the Guthrie Theater in May 2009 and will open in New York in 2010.
Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana and earned his bachelor’s degree in medieval studies at Columbia University in 1978. He earned a graduate degree in directing at New York University in 1984. Arguably the most acclaimed playwright of his generation, Kushner has received numerous accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy Award, an Oscar nomination, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Olivier Award, two Evening Standard Awards, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, two London Drama Critics Circle Awards, a Whiting Writer's Fellowship, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2008, he became the first recipient of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.
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