Palestinian writer Valentina Abu Oqsa  has been named the winner of the 2012 Etel Adnan Award for Women Playwrights.
The announcement was made at the end of the Ninth International Women Playwrights Conference (WPIC), which concluded in the Swedish capital Wednesday.
A panel of judges comprised of Lebanese and Swedish jury members gave Abu Oqsa the prize for her play “Ana Hurra” (“I am Free”). The jury said it was awarding the distinction “in recognition of her creativity in presenting an original theme using captivating language and unusually profound characters.”
The Lebanese judges included Lebanese playwright and theater impresario Nidal al-Achkar, founder and executive director of Beirut’s Masrah al-Madina, and Mona Knio, professor at the Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University.
The Swedish jury members included literature and gender scholar Asa Sarachu; Daniela Kullman, playwright and founder of Sweden’s Teater Scenario; Rawia Mora, poet and author; Mikael Wranell, dramaturge at Riksteatern; theatre sciences professor Yael Feiler; and dramaturge Diane Bimont.
Abu Oqsa received $5,000 and an opportunity to have her work translated into English. Her play “Ana Hurra” will also be co-produced by the Swedish National Theatre and Masrah al-Madina, for performances in Lebanon and Sweden. It will also tour some European countries.
The Etel Adnan Award was founded in 2010 by Masrah al-Madinah and Riksteatern (National Touring Theatre) in Sweden to honor Lebanese-American author, poet and visual artist, Etel Adnan.
The award aims to recognize and promote Arabic literature and drama by women writers in the Arab region and to disseminate their work around the world. The award also aspires to increase the number of plays penned by women writers residing in the Arabic-speaking countries.
In their award statement the jury wrote that Abu Oqsa’s script “is a dramatic political statement that entails poignancy, reality and cruelty ... Abu Oqsa’s mesmerizing language, her fully realized characters with such unusual depth, and her original take on a theme of supreme importance is and should be the envy of all playwrights regardless of taste, class, gender and ethnicity.”