The first annual Windham Campbell Prize winners were announced Monday by Yale University, and they include three playwrights familiar to dedicated Twin Cities theatergoers.

The prize awarded $150,000 to each of nine writers, three in fiction, three in nonfiction and three playwrights. The winners in drama -- Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Tarell Alvin McCraney -- all have been produced locally, with the strongest Twin Cities connection coming via Pillsbury House Theatre in south Minneapolis.

In the last two years, Pillsbury House produced or co-produced (with the Guthrie and Mount Curve Company)  McCraney's "The Brothers Size" and "In the Red and Brown Water," each directed by Marion McClinton.

 Above, Marion McClinton directed Tarell McCraney's play "In the Red and Brown Water," starring Christiana Clark, right, in 2011. / Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace.

In 2003, Pillsbury House produced Guirgis' prison drama "Jesus Hopped the A Train," directed by Stephen DiMenna, and starring James A. Williams, who also appeared in "The Brothers Size."

Playwright Naomi Wallace was produced here in 2000, when Frank Theatre staged her play "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek," directed by Wendy Knox and starring Andre Samples and Lisa Belfiori, pictured below. 

Photo by Ann Marsden

 The Windham Campbell Prize is named after late writer Donald Windham and his partner Sandy Campbell. The monetary prizes are reported to be the largest in the world for writers. The fiction winners are James Salter, Zoe Wicomb and Tom McCarthy. The nonfiction winners are Jonny Steinberg, Adina Hoffman and Jeremy Scahill.


Namir Smallwood and James A. Williams in "The Brothers Size" at the Guthrie Theater. / Photo by Michal Daniel 

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