Atlanta native Layla Mack, who attends the Martha Ellen Stillwell School of the Arts, was selected as the winner of the National August Wilson New Voices competition in Pittsburgh in April.  

The 18th annual competition, formerly known as the August Wilson Monologue Competition, honors Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson and seeks to expose and cultivate an appreciation for the legendary writer’s 10-play American Century Cycle, which included Fences, The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Mack was one of 13 student finalists from around the country. She performed a monologue from Fences to win the prize. Terrence Tate of Heritage High School in Atlanta came in second, giving the city a one-two punch. Yenay Cuevas from the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles came in third.

The competition was adjudicated by Mark Clayton Southers, Javon Johnson and Sakina Ansari Wilson.

“By bringing the competition to Pittsburgh [Wilson’s home and setting for many of his plays], we allowed students across the country to experience the city’s rich cultural history and to connect with August on a deeper and more personal level—through his archives, his childhood home, and much of the community that inspired his work,” said Derrick Sanders, AWNV’s national director.

Several previous winners of the award have continued on to Broadway, including Jeremy Pope (Tony-nominated for Ain’t Too Proud), Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen), and Jasmine Cephas Jones (Hamilton).

Photo: Layla Mack (center) with Yenay Cuevas (left) and Terrence Tate.