David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang

  • Playwright
  • Librettist
  • Screenwriter


During his fellowship, David will explore the effects of US demographic shifts on social anxieties, and how China’s authoritarian regime understands and uses the “soft power” of the arts.

David Henry Hwang is one of the country’s leading playwrights and theater artists, known for his pathbreaking work in illuminating the experience of Asians in the United States and exposing hidden dimensions of race, sexuality, and identity in contemporary life. Collaborating with diverse artists and producers, David has created works in repertory theater, opera, musical theater, film, and television and excelled as a writer, librettist, and producer while often crossing traditional lines of commercial and nonprofit work. His first play, FOB, was produced at the Public Theater and won an Obie Award in 1980. This launched his career and a robust partnership with Joseph Papp that extended to four other productions, including the Pulitzer Prize–nominated drama The Dance and the Railroad. In 1998, David’s play M. Butterfly won both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

David’s prolific output has won him numerous other awards, including the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Grand Master of American Theater, the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater, the Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award, and the ISPA Distinguished Artist Award. In 2012, he was named a Fellow of United States Artists, and he received the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award in 2014.