The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award

Supported by the Kennedy Center Education Department, The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, initiated in 1977, is part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program. The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award is presented in the memory of the distinguished dramatist for the outstanding KCACTF student-written plays on the subject of the African-American experience. Hansberry was the first African-American playwright, and the youngest of any color, to win the New York Drama Critics Award for her drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which opened on Broadway in 1959.  Lorraine Hansberry died in 1965 of cancer, at age thirty-four, at the peak of her career.

The Lorraine Hansberry Awards recognize the outstanding plays written by students of African or Diasporan descent that best express the African American experience.


A first place cash award of $1,000.


Professional Development Fellowship. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will provide the award recipient with an all-expenses paid professional development opportunity.


Dramatists Guild Award.  The Dramatists Guild Award provides the playwright with Active membership in the Guild.


The second place award is a cash prize of $500.


Grants of $750 and $500 will be made to the theater departments of the college or university producing the first and second place award recipients, respectively.


All student who attend a college that participates in KCACTF by entering a production or productions for response at the Associate or Participating level may submit their plays for consideration for this award.  Entries do not need to be produced by their schools for consideration in this award category.  The play must comply with the guidelines for scripts entered in the KCACTF Michael Kanin Playwriting Program.

Rules and Guidelines