Young Jean Lee

Drama

2019

United States

Young Jean Lee is a genuinely original playwright and theater-maker who explores diverse theatrical styles, forms, and subjects with a dramaturgy that constantly takes risks and pushes the boundaries of what is possible.

Young Jean Lee is a Korean-American playwright, director, and filmmaker. Described as “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by the New York Times and as “one of the best experimental playwrights in America,” by Time Out, Lee’s plays have been performed in more than eighty cities around the world. Her remarkable—and remarkably diverse—body of work reflects her commitment to the disruptive, discomfiting powers of theater, and to confronting thorny political and social questions through stylistic, formal, and tonal experimentation: Straight White Men (2014) is a naturalistic three-act play about straight white male identity; We’re Gonna Die (2011) is a rock cabaret about death; Untitled Feminist Show (2011) is a wordless gender-fluid movement piece. Whatever the form, Lee’s work insists upon both intimacy and strangeness, inviting her audience to participate in the creation of turbulent and transformative theatrical events. Lee is the recipient of an Edwin Booth Award (2018), a PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award (2016), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2011). In 2018, with the debut of her play Straight White Men, she became the first Asian-American woman to write a play produced on Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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When I found out that I’d been selected to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize, I couldn’t stop crying. It was so moving to me to imagine someone out there taking the time to write me a nomination letter, and all of the anonymous people who looked at my work and decided that I should get such a gigantic amount of support. This prize will make such a difference for me.
Young Jean Lee