Torture at Guantanamo Theme of This Year’s University of Texas at Austin’s Keene Prize for Literature
U. of Texas at Austin News
July 24, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas — Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, a graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2009 Keene Prize for Literature for her play titled “Lidless,” a poetic treatment of the issue of torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Keene Prize is one of the world’s largest student literary prizes. Cowhig will receive $50,000 and an additional $50,000 will be divided among three finalists.
Cowhig’s play was chosen out of 58 submissions in drama, poetry and fiction. In the play, a former Guantanamo detainee dying of liver disease journeys to the home of his female interrogator to demand reparation for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul. It recreates the traumatic experience of interrogation and moves toward reconciliation between its protagonists.
“Political without being propagandistic, moving without being sentimental, ‘Lidless’ uses theatrical space, physical bodies and talismanic objects to create a bold imaginative intervention into the debate about torture,” said Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, chair of the Department of English and chair of the award selection committee. …