The winner of the 2013 Susan Nims Distinguished Playwriting Award will be Marc Kornblatt of Madison, Wisconsin, for his play Refuge. Born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, Marc Kornblatt began his theatrical career as an actor, performing Off-Off Broadway, in regional theaters, on television and in films such as Walter Hill’s cult classic, The Warriors. Since turning to writing, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, written plays, stories, magazine pieces and children’s books, including the award-winning young adult novels Understanding Buddy and Izzy’s Place. His work as an elementary school teacher led him to make music videos and to found his own production company, Refuge Films. Kornblatt’s short narratives and documentaries have screened at festivals across the country. Street Pulse, his first feature-length film, was released earlier this year. A member of the Dramatist Guild, he has had work staged in Beverly Hills, Dayton, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Madison, Manhattan, Memphis, Miami, and beyond. Awards include the Julie Harris New Play Prize, Longbeach Playhouse New Play Award, the Dale Wasserman Drama Prize, and finalist designations in competitions sponsored by Abingdon Theater Company, Dayton Playhouse, The Drama League, Playwrights First, Ann White Theatre, Sienna Rep and Shipping Dock Theatre, among others.
Long-time Conference attendee and benefactor Sue Nims wrote her first play after attending the Conference, and her piece Crackt Bonds was read in the Lab in 2008. She passed away in the Spring of 2010. To encourage quality work, she set up a $1,000 award to be given annually to a playwright for a script presented in the Play Lab.
All plays accepted for the Lab are considered for the award. After the Conference Coordinator selects ten semi-finalists, anonymous copies of the plays are adjudicated by a three-woman panel based on structure, language, and relevance.
The 2012 recipient was New York City playwright Liam Mitchell for his full length play, Prairie Coteau.
The 2011 recipient was Anchorage playwright Linda Billington for her two-person one-act, Old Unfaithful.