Quiara Alegría Hudes is an award-winning author of plays, musicals, screenplays and other literary works. Though her works are varied in style, she combines an intellectual curiosity with a humanistic vision to tell new American stories. Her work for musical theater includes Broadway's Tony Award-winning Best Musical In the Heights (Tony Nomination for her book, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award) and the children's musical Barrio Grrrl! (book and lyrics, Helen Hayes nomination for Theater for Young Audiences). Her plays include Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue (Pulitzer Prize finalist), 26 Miles, Yemaya's Belly (The Clauder Prize), and Water By the Spoonful. Hudes was born and raised in Philadelphia, where she recently returned to receive a Resolution from the City of Philadelphia. Much of her writing comes out of family stories and is set in Philadelphia, at the intersection of its many ethnic and historic communities. Hudes's mother, a Puerto Rican spiritual leader in the Santeria and Buddhist traditions, encouraged her to become a writer, as did her Jewish father, a carpenter and artisan, and Puerto Rican stepfather, an entrepreneur. Originally trained as a musician, Hudes's writing is strongly influenced by the musical traditions she studied including Western Classical, Afro-Cuban, and jazz. Her first play was produced in the tenth grade by Philadelphia Young Playwrights, where she now serves as a board member and mentor to other young writers. After attending public school, she went on to receive a B.A. in music composition from Yale and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Brown. She is a resident writer at New Dramatists and the Joyce Fellow at the Goodman Theatre.