“The June Anne Baker Prize was initiated by John H. Gilman in memory of his late wife. The Prize will be awarded annually to a female Emerging Playwright Award winner representing a gifted new comedic or political voice for the stage, and includes a commissioning grant and development support of the new full-length play.
“June Anne Baker (1946-2000) was born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota to a playful mother and a political father. She was a sensitive soul with a very big heart. June Anne had a love affair with words and dreamed of being a writer. She once made a deal with her husband: He’d go on the Salmon River rafting trip; she would buy the Oxford English Dictionary, all twenty plus volumes of it. She received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Arizona State University, a Masters in Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma, and a law degree from Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley.
“June moved to San Francisco in 1970 and had an active city planning career with the city of Concord and Marin County. June was an active feminist, and proud of it. She was a founding member of Bay Area Women Planners. June loved life, and politics, and fun. She was serious and reflective, and yet had an overabundance of youthful enthusiasm. As a good friend once said, “If you don’t think feminists have a sense of humor, you never met June Baker.
“June turned to writing in her 40s and found an inner life that she needed to explore. While contemplating, and struggling with, thoughts of how she might manifest her writer self, she was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Her struggle turned from expression to survival, yet she never lost her joie de vivre.
“This award honors June’s great love for humor and politics and her commitment to advancing opportunities for women. She would want this award to make easier the struggle and more manifest the works of the emerging playwrights who receive it.”
No pressure, right? But in all seriousness, I am deeply honored to have been selected and I cannot wait to dig in to a new play and honor June Anne the best way I know how.
I missed pictures with Davern Wright and Erin Marie Panttaja, but they are wonderful and will have plays in the Best Of festival as well!
I hope that you’ll join me at the Best of PlayGround festival coming up next month, running May 7th – 24th at Thick House! For tickets and more info: http://playground-sf.org/bestof/
And stay tuned to hear about my next big project!
Oh, and the pictures won’t show up if you’re reading this via facebook, either click on through, or check out the PlayGround Gala album!