Typewriter releasing letters Copyrighted image Credit: Sabri Deniz Kizil | Dreamstime.com Now in its 24th year, the BBC World Service International Radio Playwriting Competition is an opportunity for writers from outside the UK to tell the stories that matter to a world audience.

This year the competition is expanding to include the Georgi Markov award, in honour of the writer, broadcaster and World Service journalist. The award honours the shortlisted script which shows the most promise.

The competition has two first prizes—one for English as a first language, one for English as a second language. The winners of both prizes will have their plays broadcast on BBC World Service.

The winners

Winner of English as a Second Language prize

The Cactus Flowers

by Virginia Jekanyika, Zimbabwe

Three women are trying to pull themselves out of poverty in Kariba, Zimbabwe, by starting their own fishing business. Just as things start to go their way, they are hit by a sudden tragedy, which results in a bitter betrayal and a struggle for survival. A bitter-sweet story of family and friendship.

This play is also the regional winner for Africa.

Profile of Virginia at bbc.co.uk

Winner of English as a First Language prize

The Ravens

by Alana Valentine, Australia

Struggling to escape the world of prostitution, Kira has recently received a large sum of compensation money. Unsure what to do with it, and under pressure from an old friend, Kira meets Nina, a social worker in training, and an unlikely friendship develops.

This play is also the regional winner for the Pacific.

Profile of Alana at bbc.co.uk

Winner of the Georgi Markov prize

Diablo and Romina

by Ana Gonzalez-Bello, Mexico

Roxanne Romina lives with her mother in a small town in the south east of Mexico, where nothing ever happens to her, except being picked on. That is, until her cousin Frank returns from America and everything changes.

This play is also the regional winner for the Americas.

Profile of Ana at bbc.co.uk

Regional Winners

Asia

Disciples by Joshua Lim So, The Philippines

Caribbean

Wild Horses by Kenrick Alexander Sharpe, Jamaica

Europe

The Hanging by Peter Auf der Heyde (writing as Thamsanqa Keti), Germany

Middle East

Like Amber and Musk by Kate Lord Brown, Qatar

Shortlisted Plays

English as a First Language

Bombshell by Fiona Looney, Ireland

Death and Taxis by Joanne Carpenter, Kenya

Learning to Swim by Orla Murphy, Ireland

Outside the Wire by Genne Murphy, USA

Recombination by Cassie Gonzales, Sweden

English as a Second language

The Guilt by Camila Vergara Pena, Colombia

The Hanging by Thamsanqa Keti, Germany

A Martini with Orson Welles by Elia Gonella, Italy

You can find more information about the competition by visiting the BBC World Service pages.

Get advice from the experts

Whether you're interested in entering the competition, or you'd like to work on your creative writing skills, OpenLearn is home to a wide variety of podcasts, articles and study material to get you going. You can listen to interviews with Willy Russell, Bryony Lavery, Mark Ravenhill, Alan Ayckbourn along with many other notable names.

Simply click on a link below to get going.

If this has whetted your appetite to study the subject in more depth, you can find out more about creative writing courses at The Open University