A graduate degree is the primary gateway to a professional playwriting career. It firmly places an emerging writer on the short list of new writers most seriously considered by agents and theaters.

University scholarships cover only tuition, and most graduate schools are in cities with extraordinarily high costs of living—there are currently no scholarships dedicated to covering graduates’ living expenses.

This unique opportunity was created as part of the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative to encourage women and non-binary playwrights of color to follow in Hansberry’s footsteps regardless of their race, gender, or economic situation. It is designed to acknowledge and combat documented financial disparities based on gender and identity, as part of The Lillys’ long-standing campaign for racial and gender parity in the theater.

Each Fellow will receive a $25,000 stipend for each year of their matriculation, up to $75,000 during the course of their graduate degree. The funds will be dedicated to living expenses not covered by subsidized tuition to ensure the Fellows have meaningful and protected time to write, work with collaborators, and benefit from the guidance of professional mentors in their respective fields.

Hansberry Lilly Playwright Fellowship - Inaugural Recipients


(she/her/ella) is a Mexican poet, performer, and theater “artivist” raised and based in Nueva York.

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(she/her) is a playwright and performer from Queens, NY.

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