African-American playwright Lynn Nottage, who wrote works such as Ruined and Intimate Apparel, has won the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.
It is the richest U.S. playwriting award, with a $200,000 US cash prize. Nottage is only the second winner of the biennial honour, which recognizes outstanding achievement in American theatre by a writer in mid-career.
Nottage won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2009 for Ruined, the story of Congolese women who survived the civil war.
Intimate Apparel, the story of a turn-of-the-century love affair, was performed earlier this year by Canadian Stage in Toronto.
Judge David Emmes said Nottage has a "unique ability to balance lyricism and unflinching honesty" in her work.
The first award was presented to Tony Kushner, writer of Angels in America.