Lynn Nottage

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Lynn Nottage
Nottage lynn download 4.jpg
Born 1964
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation Playwright, professor
Alma mater Brown University
Yale University
Spouse Tony Gerber
Child(ren) Ruby Gerber and Melkamu Gerber
Magnum opus Ruined
Awards Pulitzer Prize
Obie Award

Lynn Nottage (born 1964) is an American playwright whose work often deals with the lives of women of African descent. She is an associate professor of theater at Columbia University and a lecturer in playwriting at Yale University.

Nottage was born in Brooklyn and is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, and a MacArthur Grant in 2007.[1] She won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for Ruined.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brooklyn on November 2, 1964 to a schoolteacher and a child psychologist, Nottage attended New York's High School of Music and Art. Inspired by school productions of Annie and The Wiz, she penned her first play, The Darker Side of Verona, which told the story of an African American Shakespearean company. She is the co-founder of the production company, Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout, directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Premiere/Sundance 2014); First to Fall, directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/ IDFA, 2013); and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013- New Currents Award). Over the years, she has developed original projects for HBO, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Showtime, This is That, and Harpo. [2] After attending Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, Nottage worked in Amnesty International's press office for four years.[3]


Her best-known play is Intimate Apparel, co-commissioned and produced at Baltimore's Center Stage (where it premiered in February 2003) and South Coast Repertory. It was highly acclaimed in its Off-Broadway production in 2004, starring Viola Davis. She wrote a companion piece to Intimate Apparel, the OBIE award winning Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine, which is set 100 years later. The West Coast premiere of her Crumbs from the Table of Joy, at South Coast Repertory, earned two NAACP Theatre Awards for performance. She also received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a playwright in mid-career in 2004.

Nottage's play, Ruined, dramatizes the plight of Congolese women surviving civil war. It was first performed in 2007 in the Goodman Theater New Stages Series in Chicago, and transferred to New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Ruined was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in April 2009. Her other plays include the children’s musical, A Walk Through Time; Mud, River, Stone (Blackburn Prize finalist); Por’knockers; Poof! (Heideman Award); and Las Meninas.

Nottage reading at Occupy Wall Street, November 2011

Nottage's plays have been produced Off-Broadway and regionally by The Acting Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alliance Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, City Theatre, Crossroads Theatre, Freedom Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Studio Arena Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Goodman Theater, The Guthrie, and many others.

She has been awarded playwriting fellowships from Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is also the recipient of a Playwrights Horizons Amblin/Dreamworks commission and a National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group grant for a year-long residency at Freedom Repertory Theater in Philadelphia. Nottage is an alumnus of New Dramatists.

On May 13, 2009, Nottage spoke at a public reception in Washington, DC following a United States Senate Foreign Relations joint subcommittee hearing entitled "Confronting Rape and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones," with case studies on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.[4]

By The Way, Meet Vera Stark is finishing its world premiere in the 2010-11 season at Second Stage Theatre, after two extensions to rave reviews.[5] In 2010, she was awarded the Distinguished Playwright Award.[6]



  1. ^ "MacArthur Fellows 2007, Information as of September 2007",, accessed May 13, 2009
  2. ^ Jim Lehrer (2009-06-15). NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (mpeg) (Television production). PBS. 
  3. ^ Michel Martin (2007-09-25). Tell Me More (mpeg) (Radio broadcast). NPR. 
  4. ^ Patrick Healy. "Women of ‘Ruined’ to Speak in Washington About Rape"The New York Times, May 12, 2009
  5. ^ Brantley, Ben (May 9, 2011). "A Black Actress Trying to Rise Above a Maid". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award
  7. ^ Manohla Dargis. "Just a Maid in Movies, but Not Forgotten", The New York Times, April 21, 2011

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