Our Mission

The Leah Ryan Fund helps sustain and support writers facing individual challenges and systemic oppression so they can keep writing, connecting, creating, and thriving. The Fund currently offers an annual playwriting prize (The Leah) and an annual award for writers facing a serious illness (The Vladimir).

The Leah Ryan Fund was established in 2008 to honor the memory of Leah Ryan, a woman of letters who wrote plays, poetry, essays, lyrics, adaptations, and collaborated with performance artists.

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Congratulations to the the 2022 Winner of The Leah:
Funnie; Or, The Most Lamentable Comedie of Jane the Foole 
by Jessica MossJessica Moss

 

All Jane wants is to perform comedy. But she is struggling even to get stage time in the court of King Henry VIII, in 1533. Despite the support of her friend Anne Boleyn, Jane can’t break into the boys club of Tudor nightly entertainment – King Henry would rather see acts like Carl the Funny One, who makes wry observations about contemporary life, but who also is known to publicly masturbate. But Carl the Funny One has a degree of power, and an interest in Jane: which he uses to put her in a humiliating and upsetting situation. When the event goes public, the court is divided, and as Carl makes half-hearted non-apologies, Jane still can’t get onstage – until she and Anne have finally had enough. In a world where you are inherently seen as less-than, what kind of justice is possible? How can you ever be seen as funny when you’re not really seen as a person? 

Honorable Mentions:
Blanche & Stella by A.A. Brenner
Elizabeth is going into the ground by Emma Watkins