WGA Awards: Jenji Kohan to Receive Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Prize

Courtesy of Getty Images Jason LaVeris
Jenji Kohan

Diane English, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, Shonda Rhimes, David Chase, Marta Kauffman & David Crane, Larry David, Garry Marshall and Alison Cross are past recipients of the honor.

Orange Is the New Black creator-showrunner Jenji Kohan will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2019 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement during the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles.

The award is presented each year to a guild member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer," according to a press release.

“Jenji Kohan's work is what all good writers aspire to — touching on the harsh but also comedic realities of life through characters that don't sound written, that talk like real people. Her scenes can be comic and tragic simultaneously; while she engages, she also unnerves, pushing us out of our comfort zone. Her work has truly advanced the literature of television, and the WGAW board of directors considers it our honor to give her this award,” WGAW president David A. Goodman said Wednesday in a statement.

Kohan, who has been a member of the WGAW since 1993, is best known as the creator and executive producer of Orange Is the New Black and Weeds. She also serves as an executive producer and writer on GLOW.

Her other writing credits include episodes of Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, Tracey Takes On…, Sex and the City, Mad About You, Boston Common, The Stones and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Kohan won her first Writers Guild Award in 2006 in the episodic comedy category for the Weeds episode "You Can't Miss the Bear." She also has been nominated in other categories for her work on GLOW, Orange Is the New Black, Weeds, Tracy Takes On… and Mad About You.

Previous recipients of the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement include Diane English, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, Shonda Rhimes, David Chase, Marta Kauffman & David Crane, Larry David, Garry Marshall and Alison Cross.

The Writers Guild Awards will be presented during simultaneous ceremonies in New York and L.A. It was previously announced that Roy Wood Jr. will host the East Coast ceremony at the Edison Ballroom. The West Coast portion of the show will take place at the Beverly Hilton.