2018: Leah Nanako Winkler
AYAD AKHTAR SELECTS LEAH NANAKO WINKLER’S AND GOD SAID THIS WINNER OF THE 12TH ANNUAL YALE DRAMA SERIES
"I was very moved by Leah's play about a family caught between cultures, set in the final weeks of a mother's life,” said judge Ayad Akhtar, who chose God Said This from over 1,600 submissions from 50 countries. “I found it witty and wise, inhabited by a poignant specificity that conveyed me to a deeply felt sense of the universal -- of the perfection of our parents' flawed love for each other and for us; for the ways in which the approach of death can order the meaning of a human life.”
With her mom undergoing chemotherapy, New York transplant Hiro returns home to Lexington, Kentucky after years away. Sophie, her born-again Christian sister, fights to maintain her faith amid adversity. James, their recovering alcoholic father, wants to repair his fractured relationship with his daughters, but redemption isn’t easy. And John, an old classmate and single dad, worries about his legacy. Wry and bittersweet, God Said This is a portrait of five people confronting mortality in very different ways—and unexpectedly finding that their struggles bring them together.
Three months after submitting God Said This to the Yale Drama Series competition, Leah was told the play would have its world premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2018 Humana Festival. God Said This will also be a part of Primary Stages’ 2018-2019 season.
Leah is a Japanese American playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington Kentucky. Her plays include Kentucky (2015 Kilroys List), Two Mile Hollow (2017 Kilroys List), Death For Sydney Black, Diversity Awareness Picnic, Double Suicide At Ueno Park and Linus and Murray. Leah was awarded the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons. She is also one of the first recipients of Audible’s new commissioning program for emerging playwrights.
For more about Leah, visit: www.leahwinkler.org