Lucy Prebble wins the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for A Very Expensive Poison

Lucy Prebble's play A Very Expensive Poison received its world premiere at London's Old Vic Theatre back in August 2019.

Lucy Prebble wins the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for A Very Expensive Poison
Pictured: A Very Expensive Poison at The Old Vic Theatre in London

Lucy Prebble wins the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2020

The winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was announced in a ceremony held yesterday, 2 March 2020. Lucy Prebble was awarded the prize for her recent work, A Very Expensive Poison, based on the Litvinenko murder and Luke Harding's tell-all book of the same name. The British playwright will receive a cash prize in the amount of $25,000 as well as a specially commissioned and signed print by Willem de Kooning.

A special commendation prize in the amount of $10,000 was also awarded to Aleshea Harris for What To Send Up When It Goes Down, a play about people of colour who lost their lives due to racist violence.

Ten finalists were shortlisted for this year's Susan Smith Blackburn Award, including Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig for The King of Hell's Palace, Aleshea Harris for What to Send Up When It Goes Down, Kimber Lee for untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play, Dominique Morisseau for Confederates, Celine Song for EndlingsAnne Washburn for ShipwreckAnchuli Felicia King for Golden Shield, Zoe Cooper for Out of Water, Lucy Prebble for A Very Expensive Poison, and Stef Smith for Nora: A Doll's House, which is currently playing until 21 March at the Young Vic Theatre.

Last year's winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury for Fairview. In 2018, Alice Birch won for Anatomy of a Suicide; in 2017, Clare Barron for Dance Nation; and in 2016, Lynn Nottage for Sweat. 

In 2014, the prize was awarded to Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood, whose latest play The Welkin is currently running at the National's Lyttelton Theatre.

Other winners of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize include Caryl Churchill (Serious Money), Charlotte Jones (Humble Boy), Chloe Moss (This Wide Night), Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman), Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (Behzti (Dishonour)), Jennifer Haley (The Nether), Katori Hall (Hurt Village), Moira Buffini (Silence), and Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive).

The award was founded in 1977 by Blackburn's sister Emilie Kilgore and Blackburn's husband William Blackburn. The prize is named for the American actor and writer who resided in London for the remaining 15 years of her life.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.


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