Sanaz Toossi: Pulitzer Prize Winner in Drama

Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM PDT (GMT-7)

UCI Student Center, Emerald Bay Event Room

*This event is co-sponsored by Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture and Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian American playwright from Orange County, California. She received her MFA in playwriting from NYU Tisch School. Her plays include the critically acclaimed ENGLISH and WISH YOU WERE HERE. Sanaz Toossi will speak about these two plays as well as how her upbringing as a second-generation bilingual and bicultural Iranian American informs her playwriting.

Her plays are poignant, caring, powerful, bold, and from time to time, hilarious. ENGLISH is the 2023 Pulitzer Prize Winning play. It takes place in a classroom near Tehran, where four Iranians take English lessons for the TOEFL test. As the travel ban disrupted many lives, English became an essential tool for many Iranians to start a new life and a new identity, or simply to be with their family. WISH YOU WERE HERE follows the stories of five Iranian women from 1978 to 1991. The intimacy and complexity of their relationship is played out against the background of the 1978 Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, emigration, and other political and economic crises.

Sanaz Toossi is currently under commission at Atlantic Theater Company (Launch commission; Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant), Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (American Revolution Cycle). She was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award, the 2022 recipient of The Horton Foote Award, the 2023 recipient of the Best New American Play Obie Award, and the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.