David Henry Hwang's M Butterfly rocked American Arts and Letters, helping him become the first Asian American to win the Tony Award for Best Play. An investigation of how race, sexuality, and nationhood press up against each other, it changed forever how we understand each and their complex crossings. The works that precede and follow M Butterfly shine as well, forging a career central to contemporary American literature.
From his first play, Obie-award-winning FOB, to his most recent, Chinglish, Hwang has focused on worlds American, Chinese, and Chinese American with bravery, aplomb, wit, and, ultimately, compassion. His worlds prize words from people and people grown from words, reminding us how conversations and narratives undergird communities. Hwang's characters show us that stories, ones we make and ones we hear, are our best compass needles.
In addition to FOB, M Butterfly, and Chinglish, he has authored numerous other plays, screenplays, musical scripts, and operas. From 1994-2001 he served by appointment on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and in 2012 he was honored with the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre Award and the Asia Society's Cultural Achievement Award. Born in Los Angeles, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York.