Now in it's 34th year, this is the most prestigious prize for female playwrights. It's like the female Pulitzer. It's a way for female playwrights to get noticed, since they are stil not produced in equal number to their male peers.
Here's the description of the prize:
The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, co-founded by Emilie S. Kilgore and William Blackburn, annually honors an outstanding new English-language play by a woman. For over three decades, the Prize has encouraged women playwrights and drawn attention to notable new works. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other honors, including Tony Awards and The Pulitzer Prize. The Finalist plays also benefit from the exposure, which generates interest and productions at theater companies across North America and the United Kingdom.
Here are the nominees for this year
Johnna Adams — Gidion’s Knot, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (US)
Alice Birch — Many Moons, Theatre 503 (UK)
Madeleine George — Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Clubbed Thumb (US)
Jennifer Haley — The Nether, Center Theatre Group (US)
Nancy Harris — No Romance, Abbey Theatre (Ireland)
Zinnie Harris — The Wheel, National Theatre of Scotland (UK)
Jaki McCarrick — Belfast Girls, King’s Head Theatre (UK)
Molly Smith Metzler — Close Up Space, Manhattan Theatre Club (US)
Meg Miroshnik — The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, Alliance Theatre (US)
Alexis Zegerman — The Steingolds, Playful Productions (UK)
You can read their bios here.
The judges this year are: U.S. judges Randy Gener, award-winning writer/editor/critic; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director of the Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago); and Frances McDormand, Oscar and Tony Award-winning film and stage star. U.K. judges are Jonathan Church, Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre; Ben Power, Associate Director of the National Theatre; and Imogen Stubbs, Actress/Writer/Director and stage and screen star.