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The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award

Supported by the Kennedy Center Education Department

The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, initiated in 1977, is part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program. The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award is presented in the memory of the distinguished dramatist for the best KC/ACTF student-written plays of the subject of the African-American experience. Hansberry was the first African-American playwright, and the youngest of any color, to receive the New York Drama Critics Award for her drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which opened on Broadway in 1959. Lorraine Hansberry died in 1965 of cancer, at age thirty-four, at the peak of her career.

The First Scholarship $2,500 and an internship to the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Theater Center.

Dramatic Publishing Company will present the first-awarded playwright with an offer of a contract to publish, license, and market the awarded play.

The Second Scholarship $1,000

Grants of $750 and $500 will be made to the theater departments of the college or university producing the first- and second-place recipients, respectively. Past national judges for theh Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award include Douglas Turner Ward, Robert Hooks, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, and Ron Himes.

Please refer to the Michael Kanin Playwriting Award Rules and Procedures.


The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award: An Anthology of Prize-Winning Plays has been published by Clark Publishing, Inc. The anthology was designed as an educational resource text for college students, professors, and all theatre professionals. The Lorraine Hansberry Award is a event for student plays best expressing the African American experience.

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