Leah Nanako Winkler is an award-winning playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington Kentucky. Her plays include God Said This (Winner: 2018 Yale Drama Series, World Premiere: Humana Festival, Off Broadway Premiere Primary Stages/Cherry Lane), Two Mile Hollow (Winner: Francesca Primus Prize, Kilroys List, Simultaneous world premiere w/ Artists At Play in La, Mixed Blood/Theater Mu in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in SF) ,Kentucky ( Kilroys List/ World premiere: Ensemble Studio Theatre in coproduction with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network. West Coast Premiere: East West Players ) Death For Sydney Black (terraNova Collective, Kilroys Honorable Mention) Diversity Awareness Picnic (Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, Kilroys Honorable Mention), Linus and Murray (EST/Marathon 2017) , Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Theater Mu/Mixed Blood ) and Nevada-Tan (only on Audible).
She started out self-producing experimental comedies with her now defunct theater company Everywhere Theatre Group from 2006-2012 at places like the New Ohio Theatre, The Brick Theatre, Dixon Place, the Ontological Hysteric Theater/Incubator Arts Project the Prelude Festival and random boats and bars. You can watch a partial archive of ETG’s history here. Leah’s collections of short plays, Nagoriyuki & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are currently available here and are performed widely in the US, France and Asia. Other publications include American Theater Magazine, Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews, Yale University Press, Backstage, Smith and Krauss, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service.
She has served on the faculty of New Group’s Urban Arts Initiative, ESPA at Primary Stages and the Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College, as well as teaching as a guest artist at schools around the country. Leah is an alumnus of Youngblood at the Ensemble Studio Theater, terraNova Groundbreakers Playwrights Group, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Playwrights Group at Primary Stages and the Lab at WP Theater where she was a 2016-2018 Time Warner Fellow. She was a Ucross fellow with the Sundance Institute. She is currently a labbie at Ma Yi and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. She’s working on commissions from WP Theater, EST/SLOAN, Yale Rep and Disney/Marvel.
Leah was awarded the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons. She was also one of the inaugural recipients of a commission from Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund and was named the 2017-2019 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark. Recently, she won a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award.
TV credits include Michael Moore’s TV NATION, New Amsterdam (S2) and A24’s Ramy on Hulu (S1) for which, along with the other writers, she won a Peabody. She is currently adapting her play Nevada-Tan into a feature for Amazon Studios, her play Hot Asian Doctor Husband with Killer Films with Anna Akana set to star and Lindsay Wong’s memoir The Woo-Woo for UCP. She is a writer/producer on Love Life Season 2 at HBO MAX.
She attended Tates Creek High School and has a MFA from Brooklyn College. The New York Times called her a “distinctive new voice.” Follow her @leahnanako.