Edward Albee to Receive WGAE Evelyn F. Burkey Award

NEW YORK CITY– Edward Albee has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America, East’s (WGAE) Evelyn F. Burkey Award. The prestigious Burkey award recognizes contributions that have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere. Albee will accept his award at the 62nd annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony held on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at New York City ’s Hudson Theatre.

A writer for more than 50 years, Albee has written more than 30 plays, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance, Three Tall Women, The Play About the Baby, and The Goat Or, Who is Sylvia?.

Albee’s commitment to his craft extends to the support of his fellow artists. He is president of The Edward F. Albee Foundation, which he started in 1967 with proceeds from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The Foundation “exists to serve writers, visual artists and composers from all walks of life.” It maintains the William Flanagan Memorial Creative Persons Center (better known as “The Barn”) in Montauk, New York as a residence for writers, painters, sculptors and composers to work without disturbance by providing rooms and creative space at no cost to the artists.

Albee has won four Tony Awards, three Pulitzer Prizes, and an Obie Award. In addition, he is a Kennedy Center honoree and has received a special Tony award for lifetime achievement, the National Medal of Arts, and a Gold Medal in drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

"In both word and deed, Edward Albee has lived a life of letters that distinguishes writers wherever they may be. He would be a notable recipient of the Burkey Award for his body of work alone, but in addition, through his Edward F. Albee Foundation and its William Flanagan Center, Mr. Albee has encouraged and honored the creativity of countless others toiling in all aspects of the arts," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

The Evelyn F. Burkey Award was established in 1978 to honor Burkey, who dedicated her professional life to supporting and helping writers. Burkey helped create the Writers Guild of America, East in 1953 as the union of film, television and radio writers, independent of precursor organizations. She was the WGAE’s executive director until her retirement in 1972. The Burkey Award continues her mission by recognizing a person or an organization “whose contributions have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere.” In 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists received the Burkey award. Other recipients include: Walter Bernstein, Joan Didion, Martin Scorsese, Colin Callender, Vaclav Havel, David Brown, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Miller, Joan Ganz Cooney, Art Buchwald, Horton Foote, Andy Rooney, and Walter Cronkite. 

The 62nd annual Writers Guild Awards will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2010 in New York City at the Hudson Theatre in the Millennium Broadway Hotel and simultaneously in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. For more information or to purchase tickets to the New York City awards ceremony, call 212-767-7812 or visit the WGAE website at www.wgaeast.org.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.

Photo Credit: Jerry Speier