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The Playwright Lauren Yee Wins the Kesselring Prize


A scene from Lauren Yee’s “In A Word” at the Cherry Lane Theater this year.

Hunter Canning

Lauren Yee has won the National Arts Club’s 2017 Kesselring Prize, awarded to emerging playwrights since 1980. She will receive $25,000 and two-week residency at the club.

Her play “In a Word,” in which a child’s disappearance haunts a mother, ran Off Broadway this summer to critical acclaim. Alexis Soloski named the play a New York Times Critic’s Pick in June, describing it as “a sad and breathless and often pretty funny play about the ways in which loss mangles our world and garbles our speech.”

Ms. Yee’s first professionally produced play was “Ching Chong Chinaman,” in 2010, about a Chinese-American immigrant family, and she has since written several works for Off Broadway, including “The Hatmaker’s Wife.” Her latest, “The Great Leap,” follows an American basketball team traveling to Beijing in the 1980s, and will come to the Atlantic Theater Company in May. The play made the 2017 Kilroys List, which honors plays by women.

The award will be presented in a ceremony at the National Arts Club on Nov. 5. Ms. Yee will be given the opportunity to reside there for two weeks to develop new work.

Previous winners of the award, named in honor of the playwright Joseph Kesselring (“Arsenic and Old Lace”), include Lucas Hnath and Tony Kushner.

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