Jenji Kohan, creator of Weeds and Orange Is the New Black, will be this year’s recipient of the WGA West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award, which is given to a guild member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.” She will be honored at the guild’s LA awards show on February 17.
“Jenji Kohan’s work is what all good writers aspire to – touching on the harsh but also comedic realities of life through characters that don’t sound written, that talk like real people,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman. “Her scenes can be comic and tragic simultaneously; while she engages, she also unnerves, pushing us out of our comfort zone. Her work has truly advanced the literature of television, and the WGA West board of directors considers it our honor to give her this award.”
Kohan, who is also executive producer and writer on Glow, has been a guild member since 1993. Her first job was as a writer on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Her many other writing credits include episodes of Sex and the City, Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, Mad About You, Boston Common, The Stones, and Tracey Takes On…, for which she won an Emmy. In 2015, she shared a PGA Award for Orange is the New Black.
Born in Los Angeles into a family of television writers, she is the daughter of veteran TV comedy/variety writer Buz Kohan and sister of Will & Grace co-creator David Kohan.
The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award is named after one of the most influential writers in television history. Past recipients include Diane English, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, Shonda Rhimes, David Chase, Marta Kauffman & David Crane, Larry David, Garry Marshall, and most recently Alison Cross.