Arkansas playwright and screenwriter Qui Nguyen is the recipient of the 2019 Porter Fund Literary Prize. The Porter Prize is presented annually to an Arkansas writer with a substantial and impressive body of work that merits enhanced recognition. Past winners of the Porter Prize include Mara Leveritt, Morris Arnold, Kevin Brockmeier and Jo McDougall, the current Poet Laureate of Arkansas. The $2,000 prize makes it one of the state’s most lucrative as well as prestigious literary awards. Eligibility requires an Arkansas connection.
Nguyen will be honored at an award ceremony beginning with 5:30 p.m. reception on Thursday, October 3 at the Main Library’s Darragh Center in downtown Little Rock. The Porter Prize and the Booker Worthen Literary Prize will be given out in the same evening. The event is free and open to the public. The Porter Prize will also make a special announcement regarding a grant received by the Sturgis Foundation in Arkadelphia.
The Porter Prize was founded in 1984 by novelist Jack Butler and novelist and lawyer Phil McMath to honor Dr. Ben Kimpel. Butler and McMath were students of Kimpel, noted professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. At Kimpel’s request, the prize is named in honor of Kimpel’s mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter. The annual prize, $2,000, has been given to 35 poets, novelists, non-fiction writers and playwrights.
Nguyen was notified of his award by Fayetteville novelist Padma Viswanathan, the 2017 recipient of the Porter Prize.
“It’s absolutely amazing to be awarded this prize and to have my name among such esteemed writers,” said Nguyen. “It’s truly a blessing and an honor that I will always cherish.”
A native of El Dorado, Qui Nguyen is a playwright and screenwriter. His plays include Vietgone (2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, 2016 LADCC Tim Schmitt Award, 2016 Edward M. Kennedy Prize finalist); She Kills Monsters (2014 AATE Distinguished Play Award, 2012 GLAAD Media Award nom); Soul Samurai (2009 GLAAD Media Award nom), and many others with his theatre company, Vampire Cowboys. Recent awards include a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program (Peg+Cat) and a 2015 New York Community Trust Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. He is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America, The Dramatists Guild, and The Ma-Yi Writers Lab. For television and film, he’s written for AMC, PBS, and Marvel Studios. He’s currently writing for Netflix’s The Society and Walt Disney Animation Studios.