María Irene Fornés

María Irene Fornés

1999-2000 Residency 1 Playwright

María Irene Fornés was born in Havana, Cuba, and first came to New York City in 1945 at the age of 15. Her first play, Tango Palace, was produced in 1963. Since then, she wrote more than three dozen works for the stage.

Among her most celebrated plays are Promenade, The Successful Life of 3, Fefu and Her Friends, The Danube, Mud, The Conduct of Life, And What of the Night?, Abingdon Square, The Summer in Gossensass and Oscar and Bertha. Two volumes of her plays, Promenade and Other Plays and Fornés Plays, have been published by the Performing Arts Journal and other plays have appeared in various anthologies. Besides directing most of her own plays, she directed plays by Calderon, Ibsen, Chekhov and several contemporary authors.

Ms. Fornés is the recipient of eight Obie Awards, one of which was for Sustained Achievement in Theater. She has received a Distinguished Artists Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation grants, a Guggenheim grant, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Literary Award, a New York State Governor's Arts Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She completed a two-year term as a TCG/PEW Artist-in-Residence at Women's Project & Productions.

Ms. Fornés conducted playwriting workshops in theaters and universities in the United States and abroad. From 1973-79, she was the managing director of the New York Theatre Strategy. Since 1981, she was Director of the INTAR (International Arts Relations) Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Laboratory, a national program to stimulate and develop writing abilities of Hispanic playwrights.


Enter the Night
Letters from Cuba 

María Irene Fornés photo by Susan Johann.

Now At The Center