The New York Times' Art Beat blog posted the news announced yesterday by The Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation that the 2011 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship will be awarded to renowned playwright and activist Tony Kushner. The blog post began:
The playwright Tony Kushner has been named the recipient of a $100,000 award honoring artists and others for "socially responsible work" and challenges to authority, like Mr. Kushner's fight with City University of New York trustees last spring over an honorary degree that they temporarily withheld from him.
The Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center with ties to the left-leaning Nation magazine, and the Puffin Foundation announced on Monday that Mr. Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Angels in America" and several other plays, would receive their annual Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. The award citation, which credited Mr. Kushner's "lifetime of artistic work and activism," did not mention the CUNY furor explicitly. But Andy Breslau, president of the Nation Institute, said that "Tony's refusal to submit to the mischaracterization of his statements on Israel at a moment of great public controversy struck the jury as not only commendable, but also in keeping with his career-long commitment to the public responsibilities of the artist.”"
It summed up the brouhaha around CUNY's blocking the honorary degree for Kushner and their subsequent reversal of that decision, and went on to detail the previous recipients of the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship.
A number of theater and lifestyle websites have picked up the story, including Theater Mania, Playbill.com, Just Luxe, Daily Me, and CapeCod.com. The Los Angeles Times also included the news in its Culture Monster blog.