10 Contemporary Plays That Should Be on Your Shelf

Tomorrow marks the release of much beloved, left-of-center author Daniel Johnson’s new book, entitled Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse. Like many of his readers, we are most familiar with Johnson through his novels (Tree of Smoke) and short stories (Jesus’ Son), so we were psyched to jump into this new-to-us format for the author. Inspired by Johnson’s plays, we started thinking about all of the wonderful contemporary playwrights out there whose work deserves a spot on anyone’s reading list, whether they’re a theatre junkie or just an average lover of fantastic literature. Click through to check out our list of contemporary plays that everyone should be reading, and if we’ve missed your favorite, be sure to add to our recommendations in the comments!

Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse, Denis Johnson

These plays are everything you’d expect and want from a dramatic creation written by Denis Johnson — grit, poetry, passionate prose, a host of devilishly dirty characters steeped in backbreaking honesty, and a whirlwind ride that takes us to the polar reaches of the human experience.