NEW YORK -- Playwright Ayad Akhtar has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Disgraced, his first work for the stage to receive a New York production.
Presented last year Off Broadway under the umbrella of Lincoln Center Theater's emerging artists banner LCT3, the one-act play starred Aasif Mandvi, a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, as a corporate lawyer whose professional and personal life fall apart as a result of his association with a persecuted imam, suspected of terrorism ties. The corrosively funny and darkly provocative work explores faith, social politics and the myth of a post-racial America.
The Pulitzer announcement described Disgraced as "a moving play that depicts a successful corporate lawyer painfully forced to consider why he has for so long camouflaged his Pakistani Muslim heritage."
Born in New York, Akhtar is also an actor, novelist and screenwriter. He published the well-received American Dervish last fall, and wrote and appeared in the 2005 feature, The War Within. Disgraced will next be produced at the Bush Theatre in London in May.
Other finalists for the drama Pulitzer this year were Gina Gionfriddo's post-feminist comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn, about two women reassessing their choices as they hit mid-life; and Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles, about an unexpected bond that forms between a rudderless 21-year-old traumatized by the loss of his friend, and his thorny grandmother, a former radical.
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama carries a cash award of $10,000. Recent recipients have included Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park (2011) and Quiara Alegria Hudes' Water By the Spoonful (2012).