About Fund

Leah Ryan's Fund for Emerging Women Writers (FEWW) was established in 2008 to honor the memory of Leah Ryan, a woman of letters who wrote plays, poetry, essays, lyrics, adaptations, and collaborated with performance artists. The Fund aims to encourage talented but still unrecognized women playwrights. Since 2009, the Fund has been awarding an annual cash prize to an emerging woman playwright and producing a reading of the winning play in New York City. As hoped, the prize has been a springboard for winners who have subsequently won other competitions and/or have full staged productions of their work.

The annual prize intends to encourage brilliant and unrecognized women playwrights with both a cash prize and a New York City showcase of the winning work. The prize intends to perpetuate the integrity, compassion, and creativity that Leah herself possessed and inspired in others. Past recipients include Laura Marks (Bethany), Megan Mostyn-Brown (The Rest of Your Life), Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo), Jen Silverman (The Moors), and Rachel Teagle (The Ever and After). The prize is presented each Spring at the Lillys, an annual award honoring the work of women in the American Theater.

Beginning in January of 2015, the FEWW will be offering The Vladimir Award, a new emergency fund for writers facing medical emergencies. At the beginning of her treatment for leukemia and with her characteristic humor, Leah Ryan named her IV pole Vladimir, a nod to the Russian writers she loved. It was Leah's wish that this emergency fund be created.