Washington, DC: The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is delighted to announce the selection of Gwydion Suilebhan as the organization’s new Executive Director. Suilebhan, who is currently serving as the Director of Brand and Marketing for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, will be joining the PEN/Faulkner staff on January 15, 2019.
“Gwydion is an inspiring leader with an extensive track record of innovation,” said Tracy B. McGillivary, the President of PEN/Faulkner’s Board of Directors. “He has devoted his entire career to advocating for writers of all ages, and his passion and curiosity are absolutely infectious. His deep understanding of the challenges facing writers in the 21st century, as well as his passion for answering those challenges, thrilled us.”
Suilebhan currently serves as a member of the senior staff of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, one of the most important, critically-acclaimed theaters in the United States producing new plays. As Woolly’s brand steward, he’s responsible for connecting the theater’s rousing, visceral, enlightening work to an increasingly diverse and demanding modern audience. Suilebhan also holds a second position as the Project Director of the New Play Exchange—the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers—for the National New Play Network. As the platform’s chief architect and evangelist, he has radically transformed the ways in which writers and producers share and discover work.
“To lead the PEN/Faulkner Foundation—an organization that’s deeply committed to the beautiful notion of writers both celebrating and educating other writers—is a profound and meaningful opportunity for me,” said Suilebhan. “I cannot wait to build on four decades of literary history, both national and local, and to ensure that the PEN/Faulkner mission stays relevant and vital.”
In addition to his work as an administrator, which has included stints in both publishing and academia, Suilebhan is an accomplished writer. A member of the Dramatists Guild Council and a co-founder of The Welders—a Helen Hayes Award-winning playwrights collective—Suilebhan writes and devises new work for both stage and screen. Earlier in his career, after earning his M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, he wrote poetry and served as the poetry editor of Barrelhouse magazine.
“Gwydion is the right person to lead our organization for several reasons, not least of which is because he already understands the significance of the work we do,” said novelist and PEN/Faulkner board member H.G. Carrillo, who serves as the chair of the Foundation’s Awards and Human Resources committees. “We ran a thorough search process to find our new Executive Director, and we’re incredibly lucky to have found a leader with a rare combination of experience and credentials. He has tremendous insight, and he’s going to do great things.”
GWYDION SUILEBHAN, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, is an American writer, innovator, and arts advocate. A playwright, screenwriter, and poet, Suilebhan has served as a Council member of the Dramatists Guild of America since 2017. He is the architect of the New Play Exchange for the National New Play Network and a founding member of The Welders, a Helen Hayes Award-winning playwrights collective in Washington, DC. Suilebhan previously served as the Director of Brand and Marketing for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
As a writer, Suilebhan’s work has been noted for its “dexterous theatricality and unexpected pleasure” (Washington Post). He is the author of several plays, including The Butcher, Reals, Abstract Nude, Let X, and the Helen Hayes Award-nominated Transmission, among others. His work has been commissioned, developed, and produced by Centerstage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Forum Theatre, Theater J, and Theater Alliance, among others. Suilebhan is also the author of Anthem, a short film directed by Hal Hartley, and a forthcoming (2019) web series called All Souls.
Earlier in his career, Suilebhan primarily wrote poetry and non-fiction. He served as the poetry editor of Barrelhouse from 2004 to 2006 and taught creative writing as an adjunct member of the faculty of the Maryland Institute, College of Art. Two of his plays—Abstract Nude and Cracked—have been published by Original Works. Suilebhan has received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, two from the Montgomery County Arts Council, and one from the Maryland State Arts Council. He was also the recipient of a Larry Neal Writers Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Suilebhan earned a Master of Arts in poetry in 1993 from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Allen Grossman and Peter Sacks. In 1990, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in writing from Northwestern University, where he studied with essayist Joseph Epstein and poets Mary Kinzie and Alan Shapiro.