April 14, 2024

News Release: March 26, 2024

Cord Jefferson to Receive WGAW’s 2024 Paul Selvin Award for American Fiction

Photo: Dennis Gocer
2024 Award Recipient

Academy Award-winning writer Cord Jefferson (Succession, Watchmen) has been named recipient of Writers Guild of America West’s 2024 Paul Selvin Award in recognition of his writing of American Fiction, based on novel Erasure by Percival Everett. Jefferson will be honored at the 2024 Writers Guild Awards on Sunday, April 14 at the Hollywood Palladium. 


In a tour-de-force directorial debut from Cord Jefferson, American Fiction is a smart, heartwarming comedy that stars Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious "Monk" Ellison. Monk is a frustrated novelist fed up with the literary establishment’s continual ignorance and blind promotion of what they consider “Black” entertainment. In a moment of exasperation, he writes an outlandish “Black” book of his own under a pen name, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain. Amidst this secret success, Monk reunites with his spirited family who challenge his notions of prosperity and happiness. The film’s first-rate ensemble also includes Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Keith David, Issa Rae and Sterling K. Brown.

In addition to the Selvin Award, American Fiction is also nominated for a 2024 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay and has received wide critical acclaim, including multiple SAG-AFTRA Award, DGA Award, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture, the Critics Choice Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, multiple Black Reel Awards including Outstanding Screenplay, and Independent Spirit Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Lead Performance for actor Geoffrey Wright. 

Cord Jefferson began his writing career as a journalist in 2009 before becoming a television writer in 2014 when he joined the writing staff for season one of Survivor’s Remorse, which he followed with the full two-year run of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. After writing for The Good Place and Master of None—both of which saw him nominated for Writers Guild Awards, Jefferson went on to win two Writers Guild Awards in 2020 for his work on the critically acclaimed series’ Succession and Watchmen. Jefferson also wrote on 2021’s Primetime Emmy-nominated limited series Station Eleven. American Fiction is Jefferson’s first screenplay and his directorial debut.