Female Playwrights

Throughout history, there have been many women playwrights who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great female playwrights such as Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing, Nora Ephron, Lillian Hellman, Elfriede Jelinek.The women playwrights featured in this list are from United States, United Kingdom, Canada & Australia and many more countries.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry.
6
Famous As: Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: January 12, 1965

 2 Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira.
18
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grinnell, Iowa
Danai Gurira is best known as Michonne from The Walking Dead and as Okoye from the Marvel films Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. She earned a Tony nomination for writing the Broadway play Eclipsed. She has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and promotes arts and women empowerment.

 3 Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman.
4
Famous As: Dramatist and Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 20, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Died: June 30, 1984

 4 Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 5 Sophie Hunter

Sophie Hunter.
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Famous As: Theatre Director
Birthdate: March 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London

Sophie Hunter is an English playwright, opera director, and former performer. She is credited with co-founding and popularizing a theatre company called Boileroom, which was honored with the Samuel Theatre Trust Award in 2007 for its play The Terrific Electric, which marked Sophie Hunter's directorial debut.

 6 Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron.
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Producer, Director
Birthdate: May 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron was an American writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She is known for writing films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... The Nora Ephron Prize was created by the Tribeca Film Festival in her memory. Her life and work inspired the 2016 documentary film Everything Is Copy, which was directed by her son Jacob Bernstein.

 7 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
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 8 Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn.
4
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 10, 1640
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canterbury, England
Died: April 16, 1689

 9 Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier.
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Famous As: Novelist & playwright
Birthdate: May 13, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1989

Daphne du Maurier was an English playwright and author. Many of her works, which have been praised for narrative craft, have been adapted into films, including three of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Such was her popularity that she was selected along with four other Women of Achievement to be featured on a set of British stamps, which were issued in 1996.

 10 Yolanda King

Yolanda King.
4
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
Died: May 15, 2007

African American activist, Yolanda King, was the first-born child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Exposed to social justice activism at a young age, she grew up to be an outspoken supporter of civil rights and LGBTQA+ rights. She was also known for her artistic endeavors. She died of heart disease at 51. 

 11 Lashana Lynch

Lashana Lynch.
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Lashana Lynch is best known for her roles of Rosaline Capulet in the series Still Star-Crossed and Maria Rambeau in the film Captain Marvel. She received the Laurence Olivier bursary in drama school. Lynch will be seen as Nomi in the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die

 12 Sarah Kane

Sarah Kane
4
Famous As: Playwright, Writer
Birthdate: February 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brentwood
Died: February 20, 1999

 13 Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died: June 11, 2014

 14 Roxann Dawson

Roxann Dawson.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 11, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California

 15 Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States

 16 Caryl Churchill

Caryl Churchill.
3
Famous As: Dramatist, Women's Rights Activist
Birthdate: September 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

 17 Elaine May

Elaine May
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: April 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 18 Carrie Hamilton

Carrie Hamilton
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: January 20, 2002

 19 Tovah Feldshuh

Tovah Feldshuh
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Famous As: Television actor, Film actor, Writer, Playwright, Stage actor
Birthdate: December 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City

 20 Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing.
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Famous As: Novelist, Short Story Writer
Birthdate: October 22, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kermanshah
Died: November 17, 2013

 21 Lucy Prebble

Lucy Prebble
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Haslemere, England

 22 Patricia Wettig

Patricia Wettig
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Famous As: Actor, Playwright, Stage actor, Television actor
Birthdate: December 4, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cincinnati

 23 Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith
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Famous As: Stage actor, Film actor, Television actor, Writer, Playwright, Actor, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Baltimore

 24 Sarah Solemani

Sarah Solemani
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 4, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Camden, London, England

 25 Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 26 Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Albany, New York

 27 Annie Baker

Annie Baker
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Famous As: screenwriter, author, writer
Birthdate: March 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston

 28 Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1893
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Witham, Essex, England
Died: December 17, 1957

 29 Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson
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Famous As: Writer, Playwright, Author, Children's writer
Birthdate: September 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England

 30 Anna Silk

Anna Silk
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

 31 Yang Jiang

Yang Jiang.
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: May 25, 2016

Yang Jiang was a Chinese author, translator, and playwright. Yang Jiang is credited with writing several successful comedies. A prolific translator, Yang was the first Chinese to come up with a proper Chinese version of Don Quixote. Her translation is considered the definitive translation of the popular novel in China.

 32 Sally Wainwright

Sally Wainwright
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Famous As: television producer, screenwriter, playwright
Birthdate: 1963 AD
Birthplace: Halifax

 33 Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras
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Famous As: Writer, Film director, Screenwriter, Publisher, Novelist, Playwright, Autobiographer, Journalist, Poet lawyer, Feminist
Birthdate: April 4, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ho Chi Minh City
Died: March 3, 1996

 34 Marilyn vos Savant

Marilyn vos Savant
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Famous As: Columnist
Birthdate: August 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

 35 Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: York, England

 36 Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: November 2, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 37 Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Alex Awards winning Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is best known for authoring award winning novels like Room and Hood. Room, an international best-seller, was adapted into a film bearing same title that not only emerged as a critical and commercial success but also garnered four Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards.

 38 Edna O'Brien

Edna O'Brien
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tuamgraney, County Clare, Ireland

 39 Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer
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Famous As: Singer, Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Playwright, Blogger, Songwriter
Birthdate: April 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

 40 Sharman Macdonald

Sharman Macdonald
3
Famous As: Playwright, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Glasgow

 41 Clare Boothe Luce

Clare Boothe Luce
3
Famous As: Former U.S. Congressman, Diplomat, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: March 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 9, 1987

 42 Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee
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Famous As: Entertainer
Birthdate: January 8, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: April 26, 1970

Gypsy Rose Lee was an American vedette and burlesque entertainer best remembered for her striptease act. She was also an actress, playwright, and author whose memoir inspired the 1959 stage musical, Gypsy. Lee's life inspired several works of art, including a song titled Gypsy Rose Lee by The Distillers. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 43 Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl
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Famous As: playwright
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Wilmette

 44 Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

 45 Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher.
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States
Died: December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher was an American actress best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Some of her other films notable film wereShampoo, Soapdish, The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally and The Women. She had issues with bipolar disorder and drug addiction and spoke publicly about it. She died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while on a transatlantic flight.

 46 Kathy Acker

Kathy Acker
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 30, 1997

 47 Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler
3
Famous As: Artist, Actor, Playwright, Autobiographer, Writer, Feminist
Birthdate: May 25, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City

 48 Nelly Sachs

Nelly Sachs
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Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Writer
Birthdate: December 10, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schöneberg
Died: May 12, 1970

Nelly Leonie Sachs, internationally noted German-Swedish poet and dramatist, wrote conventional romantic poems until the rise of Nazism brought about a drastic change in her life. Forced to flee to Sweden, she began writing about the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews, concurrently translating German works into Swedish and vice-versa. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966.

 49 Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dalkey, Dublin, Republic of Ireland Ireland
Died: July 30, 2012

 50 Sue Townsend

Sue Townsend
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 2, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leicester, England
Died: April 10, 2014

Best known for creating the protagonist Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend was a legendary comic writer from Britain. Apart from the Adrian Mole series, she had also penned other novels and plays. A chain-smoker as a teenager, she had her first marriage at 18 and was a mother of three by 22.