Zora Howard Receives Inaugural Judith Champion Playwriting Fellowship from MTC
Photo of Zora Howard
Playwright Zora Howard. Photo by Deborah Lopez.

Pulitzer Prize finalist and DG member Zora Howard is the inaugural recipient of Manhattan Theatre Club’s Judith Champion Playwriting Fellowship. The Fellowship, which will be awarded by MTC annually, will provide artistic and financial resources to one playwright each season to write and develop a new commissioned play while in residence at MTC. Fellowship recipients will also participate in the life of the institution in a manner tailored to their strengths and interests. In addition to a commission, the recipient will be provided with a living allowance, access to office and rehearsal space, a ticket stipend, and a developmental workshop of at least one play during their fellowship year. 

Zora is a Harlem-bred writer and performer. Her plays include Stew (2021 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, 2020 Drama League nominee for Outstanding Play; Page 73 Productions), Bust (2022 Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), AtGN, Hang Time, Good Faith, and The Master’s Tools. Her work has been developed at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Page 73, Pipeline PlayLab, Ojai Playwrights Conference, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. She is currently a staff writer on Adam McKay’s new Netflix series Kings of America. She was the 2020-2021 Van Lier New Voices Fellow at the Lark and an alum of P73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group. BA: Yale University; MFA: UCSD. Zora co-wrote and starred in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s film Premature based on her HBO Grand Jury Prize-winning short film of the same name. The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. For her work on Premature she was nominated for Film Independent’s John Cassavetes Award. Zora has performed in theatre productions including the world premiere of Junk by Ayad Akhtar, Taming of the Shrew, Native Son, The Cherry Orchard. Zora won an Emmy for her short film: Biracial Hair that she co-wrote with director Lisa Russell.

“We are thrilled to welcome Zora Howard to the MTC community through the Judith Champion Playwriting Fellowship,” said Scott Kaplan, MTC’s Director of Play Development. “We are so grateful to be in partnership with Judith Champion. We knew immediately that Zora, with her powerful theatrical storytelling and thrilling artistry, would be the perfect fit for the inaugural year of this program.”

“Support what is most important to you,” Fellowship underwriter Judith Champion states, “and one thing that is important to me is to nurture playwriting talent so that theatre flourishes for future generations.”