The play BEHZTI (DISHONOUR) by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti is one of twelve Finalists for the 2005 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, now in its twenty-seventh year.  The awards are given annually to women who deserve recognition for having written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre.  Ms. Bhatti , a Sikh who was born in London to Indian parents, is in hiding, as violence from Sikh protesters led to the cancellation of  her play’s premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England on December 20th.  Many in the theatre community have defended both the “courageous” Birmingham Rep and the freedom of expression of the writer.  BEHZTI was chosen as a Finalist  by the international Blackburn  reading committee before the production’s opening.

Joining Ms. Bhatti as Finalists are the following eleven playwrights:  Leslie Ayvazian (U.S.) for ROSEMARY AND I, Rebecca Gilman (U.S.) for SWEETEST SWING IN BASEBALL, Joanna McClelland Glass (CANADA / U.S.) for TRYING, Bryony Lavery (U.K..) for LAST EASTER, Rebecca Lenkiewicz (U.K..) for THE NIGHT SEASON, Melanie Marnich (U.S.) for CRADLE OF MAN, Mia McCullough (U.S.) for SINCE AFRICA, Chloe Moss (U.K.) for HOW LOVE IS SPELT, Heather Raffo (U.S.) for NINE PARTS OF DESIRE, Katherine Thomson (Australia) for HARBOUR, and Patricia Wettig (U.S.) for MY ANDY.

Judges for the twenty-seventh annual awards are Stockard Channing; Sara Garonzik, Producing Artistic Director, Philadelphia Theatre Company , Paulette Randall, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, London; Corin Redgrave; Carole Woddis, theatre journalist and critic in the U.K., and Matt Wolf, London theatre critic for Variety and The International Herald Tribune.  The Awards will be presented in London or New York in February or March.

This page last updated 21st January 2005