Adrienne Kennedy Photo

Adrienne Kennedy

Born: Sep 13, 1931

Birthplace: Pittsburgh

Profession: Writer

Nationality: United States

Adrienne Kennedy

Date of Birth : Sep 13, 1931
Birth Place : Pittsburgh

Adrienne Kennedy is an African-American playwright. She is best known for her first major play Funnyhouse of a Negro. Adrienne Kennedy has been a force in American theater since the early 1960s, influencing generations of playwrights with her hauntingly fragmentary lyrical dramas. Exploring the violence racism visits upon people’s lives, Kennedy’s plays express poetic alienation, transcending the particulars of character and plot through ritualistic repetition and radical structural experimentation. The Adrienne Kennedy Reader is the first comprehensive collection of works by one of our greatest living playwrights. Many of Kennedy's plays explore issues of race, kinship, and violence in American society, and many of her works are "autobiographically inspired." In 1995, critic Michael Feingold of the Village Voice declared that "with Beckett gone, Adrienne Kennedy is probably the boldest artist now writing for the theater." Kennedy is noted for the use of surrealism in her plays. Her plays are often plotless and symbolic, drawing on mythical, historical and imaginary figures to depict and explore the American experience.


  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Playwright

Also known as

  • Adrienne Lita Hawkins


  • Etta Hawkins
  • Cornell Wallace Hawkins


  • Joseph Kennedy


  • Adam Kennedy
  • Joseph Kennedy Jr.

Awards Won

  • Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
  • American Book Awards
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
  • Obie Award for Best New American Play
  • Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Obie Award for Distinguished Plays
  • Laura Pels Foundation Awards for Drama
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