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Local writer earns top honors in MTA competition

January 5, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Community college students will perform a Starkville native’s play later this month after she won top honors in the adult division of a state competition.
Suehyla El-Attar took the top spot in her division in the 2010 Mississippi Theatre Association Playwriting Competition, which receives support in part by a Mississippi Writers Guild grant and one from the Mississippi Humanities Council. 
Organizers look to use the effort – which started in 2007 – “to promote, encourage and recognize” the work of Mississippi playwrights, MTA Executive Director Stephen Cunetto said in a statement. Authors submit scripts from May through October, then adjudicators from across Mississippi review them.
El-Attar’s script, and that of youth division winner Dayton Williams of Pass Christian, will get a staged reading at the MTA Festival at the Mississippi State University Riley Center in Meridian Jan. 13-16.
Along with the reading, each winner received a cash award. In her case, El-Attar earned $500.
El-Attar was born in Starkville, is a Starkville High School graduate and now lives in Atlanta, Ga.
Her play, “Fishbowl,” is a journey back to the new year of 1998.
It highlights two teens trying to get heard in the world. Students from Meridian Community College will perform the play Jan. 15 at 10 a.m.
She is a first generation Egyptian-American and presently an actor and writer. Her first play, “The Perfect Prayer,” has been staged four times around the nation.

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