Doubt writer-director John Patrick Shanley has been tapped to receive the Writers Guild of America East’s (WGAE) Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing. The award will be given at the 61st Annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony held on Saturday, February 7, 2009 in NYC.

Shanley is a celebrated writer of stage and screen, penning more than 20 plays and movies with a filmography that includes Joe Versus the Volcano (which he also directed), The January Man and Moonstruck, for which he received a 1988 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Doubt, his 2005 play, won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play. Working as director as well as writer, Shanley adapted the play for the big screen in a movie of the same name starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. He is nominated for a 2009 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“The choice of John Patrick Shanley to receive the Hunter Award honors a scenarist and playwright whose artistry and craftsmanship have created a standard of excellence to which all members of the Writers Guild of America, East, can aspire,” says WGAE president, Michael Winship. “John’s ability to create and tell a compelling story, building not only from imagination but from vivid memory and experience are profoundly worthy of the award and its namesake.”

Past recipients of the Ian McLellan Hunter Award include Ring Lardner, Jr., John Sayles, Jules Feiffer and Nora Ephron.