James Ijames, assistant professor of Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has received the 2017 Whiting Award, a national award given annually to ten emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama.
The $50,000 awards recognize writers with demonstrated early accomplishments and the promise of great work to come. Former Whiting Award winners have gone on to receive renowned awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Ijames is a Philadelphia-based actor and nationally recognized playwright. In 2011, Ijames received an Independence Foundation Fellowship in Performing Arts, as well as the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist. He is a founding member of Orbiter 3 Playwright Producing Collective, a member of the InterAct Core Writers and a mentor for the Foundry. His play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington made its world premiere in 2010 with Flashpoint Theater, and Moon Man Walk premiered in 2011 with Orbiter 3 Playwright Collective. Ijames also won two Barrymore awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America as well as a Barrymore for Best Direction of a Play for The Brother Size.
At Villanova, Ijames teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. His courses include acting, scene study and collaborative theatre making. Outside of the classroom, Ijames also devotes his time to Villanova Theatre. In 2015, Ijames’ made his director debut with Michael & Edie at Villanova Theatre, which earned accolades for strong cast performances and emotional dialogue. Since then, Ijames has also directed Eurydice and Marisol on campus.