EXCLUSIVE: Playwright Ren Dara Santiago has been named the first recipient of The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award, announced today by New York’s Rising Phoenix Repertory company.

The new award, presented by Rising Phoenix, is designed to honor “an emerging playwright of exceptional work ethic, character, and talent.”

Santiago is a Fila-Rican playwright from Harlem. Her newest work, Something in the Balete Tree, was written in 2018. The inaugural award, to be presented in February, takes its name from Cornelia Street in New York’s West Village, once the location of Caffe Cino, a birthplace of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement.

The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award carries a cash prize of $3,500, and includes publication of one of the playwright’s works in Rising Phoenix Rep’s theatre arts magazine Caffe Cino.