Albert Williams, a noted theater critic for The Chicago Reader, was proclaimed the recipient of the 1999-2000 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism on Nov. 20. George Jean Nathan was a well-known author and critic of American drama who graduated from Cornell in 1904. His work helped define American dramatic criticism.
Along with his prestigious accolade, Williams also received a $10,000 prize proffered by the Department of English at Cornell University.
Williams was one of many talented drama critics reviewed by a selection committee comprising senior English Department professors from Cornell, Princeton and Yale Universities.
The committee chose a recipient based mainly on nominations and surveys of works by American authors, critics and reviewers whose works are published in print, radio or televised media, according to Cornell News Service.
“The Nathan committee was pleased to award the prize to a working journalist, someone very much in the tradition of George Jean Nathan himself,” committee member Prof. Harry Shaw, chair of Cornell’s english department told Cornell News Service.
“Williams writes the kind of criticism for which the George Jean Nathan Prize was designed — incisive, thorough, confident in the intelligence of its readers and convinced that the theater makes a difference to the city in which it occurs,” the award citation stated.
“The reader is important. I’m glad that the citation brought attention to that,” Williams said.
Williams added that while many say the media today presumes that society is dull and lackluster, “The Chicago Reader is a paper that encourages an in-depth look at art and its value