Play About Guantánamo Detainee Wins Yale Drama Series Award

Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Yale Drama Series Award for her play about a former Guantánamo Bay detainee who was tortured.

The prize includes a $10,000 award from the David C. Horn Foundation, along with a staged reading of the play, “Lidless,” at the Yale Repertory Theatre in September and its publication by the Yale University Press.

“Lidless” was chosen from 650 submissions. It tells of a Guantánamo detainee who journeys to the home of his female U.S. Army interrogator 15 years after his detention, demanding half her liver for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul during her interrogations.

“‘Lidless’ was the clear winner, an extraordinary and original attempt to show the enduring strain on the victims of the U.S.’s deployment of torture at Guantánamo,” says playwright David Hare, who served as judge of this year’s annual Yale Drama Series Award.

Cowhig, a graduate of Brown University and the International School of Beijing, will earn her Master of Fine Arts degree this May from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin.

Hare, who is also an Oscar-nominated screenwriter (in 2009 for “The Reader”), was judge for the first time this year, having succeeded playwright Edward Albee. His award-winning plays have included “The Blue Room” and “The Vertical Hour,” and his screenplays include “The Hours.”

The Yale Drama Series is jointly sponsored by Yale University Press and the Yale Repertory Theatre. It is funded by the David C. Horn Foundation, established in 2003 by Francine Horn to honor the memory of her late husband, the publisher and chief executive officer of Here & There, the leading international forecasting and reporting publication of the fashion industry. The foundation supports new initiatives in the literary and dramatic arts.

Submissions for the 2010 Yale Drama Series competition must be postmarked no earlier than June 1 and no later than Aug. 15, 2009. For additional information and rules regarding submissions, visit

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