Judith Siegel Pearson Award 2024 winners excel

Wayne State congratulates Judith Siegel Pearson Award first place awardee Kristen Field for her "play sex/work: a triptych" and second place awardee Natalie Lambert for "Jan, Janet, and Janice."

The Judith Siegel Pearson Award is a national writing competition hosted by Wayne State University’s Department of English that recognizes creative or scholarly writing on subjects concerning women and focuses on a single genre each year; this year’s genre was drama. Established through the generous donation of Pearson’s family in 1982, the award is named in memory of Detroit native and WSU alumna Judith Siegel Pearson, B.A. ‘66, M.A. ‘68, Phi Beta Kappa. Pearson went on to receive her Ph.D. from Washington University (Missouri) and taught at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. There she became one of the first English instructors to include Women’s Studies methods in her classes.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Field is pursuing a Ph.D. in Playwriting from Western Michigan University after having earned her M.F.A at Northwestern University. She describes her work as “a rumination on the pressures placed on women (and the pressures they place on themselves) to be a certain way – live up to certain standards and achieve certain goals in order to feel wanted and whole.” Field was inspired by her journey as a woman navigating the world and by “a desire to see the beauty in even the most damaged of us.” Field’s goals are to see her plays workshopped and produced and to work as an educator both in Australia and North America.

Lambert is a first-year M.F.A student in playwriting at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her play centers on three women who accidentally meet each other as “they sit on their window ledges from a great height, and talk about bad thoughts, bad poetry, Final Destination, and the debilitating allure of suicide.” Her inspiration comes from frustration with well-meaning phrases that shut down necessary conversations about mental health. Lambert wanted to write about “three women who took the time to actually listen to each other's reasons for suicide without undermining their issues in an attempt to save them.”

The competition is chaired by WSU English Director and Professor of Creative Writing Donovan Hohn and this year’s final judge was English Creative Writing Associate Professor of Teaching Chris Tysh. All competitions and awards are open to Wayne State students.

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