2023 Pulitzer Prize Goes to English, by Sanaz Toossi,Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country a Finalist
Western Asian American Sanaz Toossi won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her work English. A quietly powerful play about four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran, where family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language that may alter their identities and also represent a new life.
East Asian American playwright Lloyd Suh was a finalist for his play, The Far Country. An account of emigrants who traveled from China to San Francisco and suffered in the shadows of a strange new world, a historical portrait of the ruthless dynamic of immigration that is also timely.
Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright from Orange County, California. Her plays include the critically acclaimed, award-winning ENGLISH (co-production Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theatre Company) and WISH YOU WERE HERE (Playwrights Horizons; Williamstown/Audible, released 2020). She is currently under commission at Atlantic Theater Company (Launch commission; Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant), Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (American Revolutions Cycle). In television, Sanaz recently staffed on INVITATION TO A BONFIRE (AMC); A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (Amazon); FIVE WOMEN (Marielle Heller/ Big Beach); and sold an original idea, THE PERSIANS, to FX with Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields attached as Executive Producers. Sanaz is a member of Youngblood and the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark, and an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group. She was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award, and the 2022 recipient of The Horton Foote Award. MFA: NYU Tisch.
Lloyd Suh is the author of The Chinese Lady (recently produced with Ma-Yi at The Public Theater), Bina’s Six Apples (produced this spring at Alliance Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company), Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Franklinland, and more, including The Heart Sellers, which will premiere at Milwaukee Rep in February. His work has been produced at theaters across the country, including Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, National Asian American Theatre Company, Denver Center, ArtsEmerson, Long Wharf and others, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA at the Guerilla Theatre in Seoul, Korea. Awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award, Horton Foote Prize, and Helen Merrill Award. He was elected in 2016 to the Dramatists Guild Council.