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Ellen Lewis

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

Photo of Ellen Lewis smiling, wearing a black hat, black shirt and red scarf

E. M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for both How the Light Gets In and Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama, and an Edgerton Award for her epic Antarctic play, Magellanica, that was produced at Artists Repertory Theater in 2018 and released as a five-part audio podcast in 2020.

Other plays by Lewis include: Apple Season (which received a rolling world premiere from the National New Play Network in 2019), Infinite Black SuitcaseThe Gun Show (which has had more than fifty productions across the country and went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland), True Story, Dorothy's Dictionary, You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center), and How the Light Gets In (a semi-finalist for the O’Neill that premiered at Boston Court Pasadena in 2019).

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant, a new opera commissioned by American Lyric Theater that Lewis is working on with composer Evan Meier, had an orchestral workshop in New York City in February 2020. Town Hall, her opera about health care in America, created with composer Theo Popov, was produced at University of Maryland and Willamette University. She wrote a ten-minute musical called The Letter with composer Stacey Philipps, and is working on a full-length musical called In the Deep with composer Roscoe McDonald.

Lewis is currently working on a big, new political play called The Great Divide, commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as part of their American Revolutions program, and co-commissioned by Artists Repertory Theater, where she is Playwright in Residence through the Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program. Lewis is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights, Opera America, and the Dramatists Guild. She is represented by Samara Harris at the Michael Moore Agency. She lives on her family’s farm in Oregon.