Sheila Callaghan
Sheila Callaghan
Playwright Sheila Callaghan is one of four winners of Special Commendation Awards from the Susan Smith Blackburn Award committee, given to a female dramatist for an outstanding work of theater. Callaghan won for her play Dead City.

This year's other winners are Irish dramatists Stella Feehilly for O Go My Man and Abbie Spallen for Pumpgirl and Northern Irish playwright Lucy Caldwell for Leaves. The four will split the $16,000 in prize money. Traditionally, the Blackburn Prize is awarded to one writer.

Among this year's other semifinalists were Julia Cho for The Piano Teacher, Julia Jordan for Dark Yellow, and Francine Volpe for The Given. Previous winners of the Blackburn Prize have included Sarah Ruhl, Dael Orlandersmith, Bridget Carpenter, and Paula Vogel.

The judges for this year's panel were Jill Clayburgh, Deborah Findlay, John Guare, Oskar Eustis, Alastair Macauley, and Anna Mackmin.