Monday May 10, 2010

Kennedy Center names playwriting award for Lim

Honor to recognize Asian-American student writers

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival has named a playwriting award for longtime KU professor and noted playwright Paul Stephen Lim.

The Paul Stephen Lim Asian-American Playwriting Award — supported by KU Endowment — will be presented annually at the festival in Washington D.C. The award includes a $2,500 cash prize for a full-length play or $1,000 for a one-act, a fellowship to attend the KCACTF Summer Playwriting Intensive or similar program, membership in the Dramatists Guild and the possibility of contracting with Dramatic Publishing to publish, license and market the winning play.

Lim said he was humbled to learn that the award, which will honor an outstanding play on any subject written by an Asian-American student, will bear his name.

“The KCACTF names its playwriting awards after people like Mark Twain, Lorraine Hansberry, Rosa Parks, Jean Kennedy Smith, David Mark Cohen and Paula Vogel,” Lim said. “I feel a bit shy in their company, but I am also thrilled to be able to encourage and nurture emerging Asian-American playwrights with this award.”

Edgar Mendoza of Carnegie Mellon University won the inaugural award April 17 for his play “Blue Note Run.” Lim presented the award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“The recipients of this new Asian-American playwriting award are free to chronicle our Asian-American lives yesterday as workers in the fields of Hawaii, the canneries in Alaska, the bad Chinese restaurants which sprang up everywhere the Chinese helped to build America’s railroads…or maybe our Asian-American lives today as doctors and nurses, mathematicians and computer geeks…or not,” Lim said in his presentation. “For we are all Americans first and foremost, and then the hyphenated Americans which make us all unique.”

Lim, born of Chinese parents in the Philippines, was an advertising copywriter and journalist when he emigrated to the United States at age 24. He came to the States to advance his education and pursue a writing career. He won the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Student Playwriting Award in 1976 for his play “Conpersonas,” beginning his long association with the festival.

He began teaching playwriting at KU in 1989, the same year he founded English Alternative Theatre as an outlet to develop and produce his students’ plays. In 1996, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion in honor of his work with student playwrights. To date, 30 plays by his students have been staged at regional and national Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival events.

Original Story Located Here

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