The 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been awarded to U.K. playwright Alice Birch (Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.) for her play Anatomy of a Suicide. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Prize is awarded annually to recognize women from around the world who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. The Winner will receive $25,000 and a signed and numbered print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning.
Anatomy of a Suicide premiered to glowing reviews at the Royal Court in the spring of 2017, directed by Katie Mitchell. The play portrays three generations of women struggling with a legacy of depression in a family haunted by its past. The play is a triptych in which the three separate yet interconnected narratives, taking place in different time periods, are performed simultaneously. Calling it a “haunting piece of theatre”, The Financial Times praised the prowess of Birch’s narrative strategy, remarking that the ” form meets the subject, in that the weight of the past in the present is constantly, physically felt.”
Finalists for this year’s prize included Elinor Cook, Fiona Doyle, Colleen Murphy, Antoinette Nwandu, Nina Raine, Anusree Roy, Tori Sampson, Lauren Yee, and Aleshea Harris (IS GOD IS)