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James Ijames        

American Playwright, Actor & Professor

Earlier this year, James Ijames (pronounced Imes) cemented his status as a defining playwright in American theater when he received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his most recent play Fat Ham—a modern take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He joins the ranks of legends like Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Wendy Wasserstein and Lin-Manuel Miranda in attaining this coveted distinction, the highest national honor in literary achievement.

It was a watershed moment for the prolific playwright, director and educator, whose works have been produced nationally to critical acclaim. Writing plays since age 14, Professor Ijames first rose to prominence in the Philadelphia performing arts scene in 2011 when he was named the recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award, given to an emerging theater artist. Since that time, the list of distinctions and prizes has been long and extensive, including four Barrymore Awards, two each for acting and directing; a 2019 Kesselring Prize for his play Kill Move Paradise the 2015 Pew Fellowship for Playwriting; and the 2015 Terrence McNally New Play Award for his witty and provocative White.

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