Press Room

Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Wednesday January 28, 2009


NEW YORK CITY –  John Patrick Shanley has been chosen to receive the Writers Guild of America East’s (WGAE) Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing.  The award is given “in honor of a lifetime body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television.”  He will receive his award at the 61st Annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony held on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at New York City’s Hudson Theatre.

An accomplished and award-winning writer and director, John Patrick Shanley has written extensively for film and the stage. His play Doubt, which opened off-Broadway in 2004, became the first of his plays to transfer to Broadway and then to the screen. The screen adaptation of Doubt, written and directed by Shanley, has earned him 2009 Academy Award and Writers Guild Award nominations for best adapted screenplay. While on Broadway, Doubt won numerous awards, including the Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, The Drama League Award, the Drama Desk Award and the Pulitzer.

Shanley’s original screenplays include: Five Corners, Moonstruck, for which he won an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award, The January Man and Joe Versus The Volcano, which he also directed. Five Corners was awarded the Special Jury Prize for screenplay at the Barcelona Film Festival. Shanley also wrote the adapted screenplay for Alive.

His long list of acclaimed plays, many of which he directed in their original productions, includes: Defiance, Savage In Limbo, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, Beggars In the House of Plenty, Where’s My Money?, Italian American Reconciliation, Four Dogs And A Bone, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Dirty Story, which earned Shanley a Drama Desk nomination.

"The choice of John Patrick Shanley to receive the Hunter Award honors a scenarist and playwright whose artistry and craftsmanship have created a standard of excellence to which all members of the Writers Guild of America, East, can aspire. John’s ability to create and tell a compelling story, building not only from imagination but from vivid memory and experience are profoundly worthy of the award and its namesake," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Established in 1992 in honor of the late Ian McLellan Hunter, a member of the Writers Guild of America, East for many years, the Ian McLellan Hunter Award is presented to a member of the Writers Guild of America, East in honor of his or her lifetime body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television. Hunter’s more than 20 screen credits included Eye Witness and A Woman of Distinction.  Harassed by the blacklist in the 1950s, Hunter went on to write several successful television series under a pseudonym and then reemerged as a writer on many television projects, including The Blue and The Gray.  Appropriately, the first recipient of the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing was Hunter’s longtime friend and writing partner, Ring Lardner, Jr., whose movie credits include Woman Of The Year, M*A*S*H, and The Cincinnati Kid.  Other Hunter Award recipients include: Andrew Bergman, Marshall Brickman, John Sayles, Herb Gardner, Horton Foote, Bill Persky, Jay Presson Allen, Ernest Kinoy, Robert Benton, Donald E. Westlake, Walter Bernstein, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Jules Feiffer, and Nora Ephron. 

The 61st Annual Writers Guild Awards will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2009 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

The Writers Guild of America, East is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, new 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

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