NEW YORK — Elaine May is receiving a literary prize named for a director and stage performer she knew well.
The 89-year-old May is this year’s recipient of the PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award, a $25,000 prize established in 2019 to honor the legacy of Nichols, whose many achievements included his work with May as one of the leading comedy duos of the late 1950s and early ’60s. On her own, May directed such acclaimed films as “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Mikey and Nicky” and worked on the screenplay for “Heaven Can Wait” and the Nichols film “The Birdcage” among others.
On Wednesday, PEN also announced that Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o received the $50,000 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature and playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury the $10,000 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award.
PEN America, the literary and human rights organization, will celebrate the winners Feb. 28 at an in-person event in New York hosted by Seth Meyers.