Naomi Wallace is an American playwright living in England. Throughout her celebrated and incendiary career Wallace has explored the role of politics and power in shaping human experience, be it in seventeenth-century London during the Great Plague (One Flea Spare, 1995), among black communist organizers in 1930s Alabama (Things of Dry Hours, 2009), or in the parallel dramas of the Vietnam and Gulf Wars (In the Heart of America, 1994). Though her work can be dark and almost brutal in its vision, Tony Kushner maintains that Wallace is “outrageously optimistic. She seems to believe that the world can change. She certainly writes as if she intends to set it on ﬁre.” In addition to her more than twenty stage plays, Wallace has written screenplays for the ﬁlms Lawn Dogs (1997), The War Boys (2009), and Flying Blind (2012, with Bruce McLeod). Wallace has received many accolades for her work, including two Susan Smith Blackburn Prizes, an Obie Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
That I feel honored to receive the inaugural Windham Campbell prize in drama is a gross understatement; I’m as happy as a delirious clam. This prize is enormously important at a time when the arts are increasingly embattled.