Mabrouk, Yussef El Guindi

Last week, Egyptian-British-American playwright Yussef El Guindi took the prestigious 2012 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association (ATCA) New Play Award for his “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World.

The Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts that premiered outside New York City.

The announcement was made Saturday in Louisville, Ky, USA. The award includes a prize of $25,000, and is, El Guindi told the Seattle Times, “like being handed a bottle of water in a marathon run. It just keeps you going.”

“Pilgrims” is, according to ATCA, a “gentle romantic comedy wrapped around a serious examination of issues facing immigrants today.” The play’s wrapping is a budding relationship between an immigrant Middle Eastern cabbie and an American waitress (pictured above). El Guindi has written nine plays to date, many of them about how Arab-American characters relate to the larger US society.

El Guindi was born in Egypt, raised in London, and is now based in Seattle. He got a B.A. from the American University in Cairo and an MFA in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University. It would be interesting to have him back here for a collaboration, I’m sure.