Naomi Wallace

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Wallace and raccoon in Kentucky
Jeremy Scahill and Naomi Wallace giving a writing workshop in New Haven

Naomi Wallace is a playwright, screenwriter and poet from Kentucky, United States. She is widely known for her plays, and has received several distinguished awards for her work.


Naomi Wallace was born in Prospect, Kentucky.[citation needed]

Wallace obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College. She then received two master's degrees from the University of Iowa. Currently, she divides her time between Kentucky and the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England (UK), where she lives with her husband, Bruce McLeod, and their three children.

A press release describes her as "a dedicated advocate for justice and human rights in the U.S. and abroad, and Palestinian rights in the Middle East" [1] and her writing as "muscular, devastating, and unwavering." [2]

Wallace was briefly detained by Homeland Security after defying the ban on travel to Cuba.[3]


Wallace's plays are published in the U.S. by Broadway Play Publishing Inc., Theatre Communications Group, Faber and Faber in the UK, and éditions Théâtrales in France. Wallace's work has been produced in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe,[4] and the Middle East [Citation Needed].


Her work has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (twice), the Joseph Kesselring Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, and an Obie Award. She is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts development grant.[5]

In 1997, she was awarded the Broadway Play Publishing Inc. Playwright of the year. [6]

In 2009, One Flea Spare was incorporated into the permanent répertoire of the French National Theatre, the Comédie-Française, and produced there in 2012. Wallace is the only living American playwright to enter the répertoire. Only two American playwrights have ever been added to La Comédie's repertoire in 300 years: the other being Tennessee Williams. The play was translated into French by Dominique Hollier.

In 2012, Wallace was a recipient of the Horton Foote Prize for most promising new American play.

In 2013, she was awarded the inaugural Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.[7]

Windham-Campbell Prize Citation: Naomi Wallace mines historical situations in plays that are muscular, devastating, and unwavering.

In 2015, Wallace received an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award citation reads: "Naomi Wallace is a powerful and essential voice who brings to the theater great lyricism and moral courage. Her characters, so cruelly treated and often destroyed, speak with a direct and devastating poetry. Never does this dramatist mollify or fail to engage us on the deepest level, and her three "Visions" of the Middle East that comprise The Fever Chart are short, stark masterworks.″


Signature Theater, the Off Broadway company that has historically mounted a season of plays produced three of Wallace's plays in 2014-2015, including the world premiere of Night is a Room


  • In The Heart of America. 
  • One Flea Spare,
  • The Inland Sea,
  • Slaughter City,
  • The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek,
  • The Girl Who Fell Through a Hole in Her Jumper (with Bruce E. J. McLeod; licensed under the title The Girl Who Fell Through a Hole in Her Jumper in the United States),
  • The War Boys,
  • Things of Dry Hours
  • Birdy (an adaptation of William Wharton's novel),
  • The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East,
  • Twenty One Positions: A Cartographic Dream of the Middle East, (co-written with Lisa Schlesinger and AbdelFattah Abu Srour).
  • The Hard Weather Boating Party
  • One Short Sleepe
  • And I and Silence
  • The Liquid Plain


  • Inside/Outside: Six Plays from Palestine and the Diaspora [1] Edited by Naomi Wallace and Ismail Khalidi, TCG


  • To Dance A Stony Field (Peterloo Poets Press). 


  • Lawn Dogs[8]
  • The War Boys, co-written with Bruce E. J. McLeod
  • Flying Blind, co-written with Bruce E. J. McLeod

Wallace has taught English literature, poetry and playwrighting at Yale University, UCLA, University of Iowa, Illinois State University, Merrimack College, Hampshire College, American University of Cairo, Vrije University of Amsterdam and other institutions. Wallace has also worked with women in the criminal justice system.

Wallace is a member of SURJ, Showing up for Racial Justice, and is represented in the USA by Abrams Artists Agency and in the UK by the Knight Hall Agency.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Lyn Gardner (6 February 2007). "Enemy within". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ "Naomi Wallace". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Naomi Wallace's Development Process for "The Hard Weather Boating Party"". New Play Blog. New Play Development Program, Arena Stage. March 13, 2009. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Naomi Wallace". Broadway Play Pub. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ Dorie Baker (March 4, 2013). "Yale awards $1.35 million to nine writers". YaleNews. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ Lawn Dogs (1997), IMDb

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