Pamela Gien

As both writer and performer of The Syringa Tree, Pamela Gien won the Obie for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor, and nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. Before its New York run, the play had its world premiere at ACT in Seattle, and Pamela has since performed it in London at the Royal National Theatre, and in Los Angeles. The production was filmed for Trio Arts Channel on television. She is completing the screenplay, and Random House has commissioned her to write it as a novel. Pamela has also written her second screenplay for an upcoming film, The Lily Field, to be produced by Matt Salinger. As a company member of the American Repertory Theater, she appeared in fourteen productions: as Sonya in the premiere of David Mamet's adaptation of Uncle Vanya with Christopher Walken, Anabella in 'Tis Pity She's A Whore with Derek Smith, Estrella in Life's A Dream with Cherry Jones, as Gabriella in Sweet Table at the Richelieu, Marianna in The Miser, and Angela in The King Stagwith Thomas Derrah, all directed by Andrei Serban. She played Stella/Ann in The End of the World with Symposium to Follow, directed by Richard Foreman, and performed in two Pirandello productions directed by Robert Brustein, and appeared in Gillette and The Day Room, both directed by David Wheeler. Other theater credits include Lavinia in Titus Andronicus for the Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival, Alicia in Piano by Anna Deavere Smith, and Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana at the LATC, for which she won a Dramalogue Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre. She has performed in the New Works Festival at the Mark Taper Forum, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and at South Coast Repertory. Her television appearances include guest-starring roles in Tales From the Crypt, Reasonable Doubts, Hunter, Secret Lives, and Into Thin Air. Her film credits include Men Seeking Women and The Last Supper.



“A gripping first novel in the tradition of such great southern African writers as Nadine Gordimer and Doris Lessing. Spare beautiful prose builds to an unforgettable climax.” – Booklist (starred)

This book plunges us inside the skin of humanity and is suffused with a rare understanding. The Syringa Tree reminds us that every life can be a drop–and a great deal more–in the sea of history.”  – Scott Simon, NPR, author of Pretty Birds and Home and Away

 "A gorgeous, hopeful, heartrending novel. . . . This uncommonly moving, deeply humane novel nearly dances in a reader's hands with the rhythms and the colors, the complicatedness and the inimitability of southern Africa." – O, The Oprah Magazine

“Gien...renders South a virtual paradise, which painfully contrasts with the blood spilled on its soil. She’s an expressive, fluent writer whose best passages are lyrical yet intimate, bringing you right into the room.” – Seattle Weekly


More from Pamela Gien

Listen to Pamela Gien on The Diane Rehm Show here.