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Leah Nanako Winkler Named 2017-19 Jerome New York Fellow

Lark News

Leah Nanako Winkler
Leni Kei Photography
The Lark is thrilled to announce that Leah Nanako Winkler, author of Kentucky, Two Mile Hollow, and Death for Sydney Black, will be the 2017-19 recipient of the Jerome New York Fellowship. The fellowship, designed to support an early career writer of extraordinary ability, promise, and vision, provides stipends of $25,000 in the first year and $15,000 in the second, in addition to an Opportunity Fund of $5,000 to be used for purposes of additional creative expenses such as travel, research, and workshops. The fellowship is designed to be a life-sustaining platform of support, allowing the fellow to focus on their craft, and to generate and develop a significant body of work.

“I’ve always prioritized art over everything and it’s never really felt like a difficult choice. That’s because theater saved my life. Or rather, theater gave me a life,” says Leah on why she chose to apply for a fellowship that would allow her to put her art first. “To this day, I view theater not as a ridiculous life choice, but the passion that allowed me...the defining sense of home that has motivated me to keep writing for the past decade in this great city.”

During her residency at The Lark, Leah will be part of a community of artists at various career levels from across the country and around the world. Her individual voice will be an invaluable addition to this community. The Lark will support Leah along a self-determined creative path. She will have access to Lark’s extensive toolbox of programs which includes participation in onsite and offsite workshops and residencies. Additionally, Leah will receive regular career and project planning meetings with Lark’s Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner and other key artistic staff.

Leah is an alumni of Youngblood, a 2016-2018 Time Warner Fellow at WP Theater, a member of the Ma-Yi lab, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer's Group at Primary Stages, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Selected from a pool of 286 applicants, she succeeds Mary Hamilton as the third Jerome Fellow in New York City, supported by the Minnesota-based Jerome Foundation.

“The financial and artistic support of this fellowship, and the various Lark programs – workshops, readings, play labs, and retreats - have allowed me to write six new plays,” said Mary of her own time as the Fellow. “But the artistic and emotional support of The Lark community has been the real blessing. They have changed my view of what it means to be an artist in this city. I’ve gone from seeing it as a personal struggle to overcome, to seeing it as a really fun, often messy, sometimes disastrous but always meaningful collaboration.”

The Jerome Foundation has also supported several well-known fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. The Jerome New York Fellowship for emerging writers was inspired by the success of the groundbreaking Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship, a partnership between The Lark and PoNY, founded by Sandi Goff Farkas. The PoNY Fellowship, now on hiatus, previously helped advance the careers of Jen Silverman, Carson Kreitzer, Samuel D. Hunter, Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau, and A. Rey Pamatmat, among others. The Jerome New York Fellowship is part of The Lark’s acclaimed portfolio of fellowships, which also includes The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship and The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship, among others, and aims to engage a diverse community of extraordinary playwrights—at various places in their careers—who represent a contemporary national vision. The Lark believes targeted support to early-career playwrights is essential to a culture of equity, access and inclusion, and a national theater that represents the vibrancy of our collective cultural voices.


The Jerome Foundation was established by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972). Through supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists, the Jerome Foundation is dedicated to contributing to the growth and vibrancy of the arts. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations as well as artists in Minnesota and New York City. For more information about the Jerome Foundation please visit: