Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang has won the $200,000 (£126,000) Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the richest prize in US theatre.
The 55-year-old said he was "overwhelmed with gratitude" and that the award was a "life-changing gift".
Hwang won a Tony in 1988 for his play M Butterfly, while his newest play Chinglish ran on Broadway last year.
He told The New York Times the money would allow him to decline other work to concentrate on writing plays.
"This award literally buys me time to focus mostly on my theatre work," he said.
"Even if you're lucky to have a play on Broadway like Chinglish, you don't necessarily earn enough off it to support the years it takes to get there."