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John Biguenet named Theatre Person of the Year and Rising Water wins Best Original Play

Loyola press release - March 26, 2008

The Big Easy Entertainment Awards has tapped playwright John Biguenet, a professor of Loyola University New Orleans, as the inaugural Theatre Person of the Year. Biguenet's Rising Water also won Best Original Play of 2007. The winners were recognized at an awards gala on Monday, March 24, at Harrah�s Casino. This is the 20th anniversary of the Big Easy�s theater awards.

Biguenet, the Robert Hunter Distinguished Professor at Loyola, has won numerous awards for his stories, plays and essays. His recent play about Hurricane Katrina, Rising Water, debuted at Southern Repertory Theater and became the playhouse�s bestselling show ever. The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is scheduled for production in several cities in the United States. Rising Water also drew nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Drama. Some of his other works include Vulgar Soul, the novel Oyster and The Torturer's Apprentice: Stories.

Among Biguenet�s other books are Foreign Fictions (Random House) and two co-edited volumes on literary translation, The Craft of Translation and Theories of Translation (The University of Chicago Press). Biguenet�s radio play Wundmale, which premiered on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany's largest radio network, was rebroadcast by �sterreichischer Rundfunk, the Austrian national radio and television network. Two of his stories have been featured in Selected Shorts at Symphony Space on Broadway.

The Vulgar Soul won the 2004 Southern New Plays Festival and was a featured production in 2005 at Southern Rep Theatre; he and the play were profiled in American Theatre magazine. Rising Water was the winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award, a 2006 National Showcase of New Plays selection, and a 2007 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been awarded a 2007 Marquette Fellowship for the writing of his next play, Night Train, which he has been invited to develop on a Studio Attachment at the Royal National Theatre in London.

His work has received an O. Henry Award and a Harper�s Magazine Writing Award among other distinctions, and his stories and essays have been reprinted or cited in The Best American Mystery Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Best American Short Stories, and Best Music Writing. Biguenet has served twice as president of the American Literary Translators Association and as writer-in-residence at various universities. Named its first guest columnist by The New York Times, Biguenet has chronicled in both columns and videos his return to New Orleans after its catastrophic flooding and the efforts to rebuild the city.