08/23/2012 08:00 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

David Henry Hwang Wins $200,000 Prize For Playwriting

The $200,000 Steinberg award for playwriting, the most generous prize in theater, has been presented to Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang for 32 years of provocative satires and dramas ("Chinglish," "M. Butterfly") that brought more Asian and Asian-American characters to Broadway and other stages, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust announced on Wednesday.

Mr. Hwang, 55, said in a telephone interview that the money had allowed him to decline film and television work recently and focus his time on writing plays. He called the award "essential" to remaining a full-time playwright, noting that he earned only $50,000 for three years of work on "Chinglish" -- which ran last fall on Broadway -- and $16,000 for four years of work on his play "Yellow Face," which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2008.