Sonya Kelly

Sonya Kelly’s plays sparkle with the quirkiness of the everyday, exploding fleeting moments into lyrical revelations, as she grapples with human fragility and pathos.

Over the last decade, Sonya Kelly has established herself as one of the most promising voices on the international theatrical scene. The author of five full-length plays, as well as numerous scripts for film, radio, and television, Kelly is both a skilled storyteller and an elegant stylist, crafting dramatic experiences that are simultaneously funny, thrilling, and deeply serious. From her first play, The Wheelchair on My Face (2011), to her most recent, The Last Return (2022), Kelly expertly wields farce and satire to expose the cruelty and chaos roiling beneath the veneer of civilization—or, as one of her characters puts it, “the system.” In Once Upon a Bridge (2021), a finalist for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Best New Play Award, a seemingly random incident (a female walker is pushed into the path of a bus by a male jogger), spirals outward to become a complex conversation about gender, racial injustice, and the uneasy relationship between personal and public spaces. In all her writing, Kelly melds the personal and the political with great aplomb, using the daily, the microcosmic, and the ordinary to speak on an epic scale. Kelly’s work has been recognized with two Scotsman Fringe First Awards (2022, 2012) as well as the Stewart Parker Award (2018), a Writers' Guild of Ireland Award (2019) and the Dublin Fringe Award for Best Production (2014). A graduate of Trinity College, she lives in Dublin with her wife and daughter. Sonya is a member of The Dean Arts Studios, an organization dedicated to supporting artists from all over the world by providing rent-free space.

My sincerest thanks to the Windham-Campbell Prizes. There is now a dent in my floor where my jaw hit it, which will serve as a permanent reminder of this deeply humbling moment. It takes a village to raise a playwright. Thank you every single person whose work and wisdom illuminated the way to this incredible honor. Words fail. How delightfully ironic. SONYA KELLY