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25th International Radio Playwriting Competition

Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017

The only global competition for radio playwrights. Find out more about 2015-16's event and explore drama and dramatists with OpenLearn.

This information is about the 25th competition running from 2015-2016, which is now closed.
Click here for information about the 26th competition running from 2017-18.

25th playwriting competition logo Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the biennial 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. 

The competition has two first prizes—one for writers with English as their first language, and one for those for whom English is a second language.

The winners of both prizes will have their plays recorded in London and broadcast on BBC World Service.

In addition, the Georgi Markov award honours the shortlisted script which shows the most promise, with the opportunity to take part in a two-week residency with the BBC's London Radio Drama department and with BBC World Service.

The Open University is proud to co-produce the competition in partnership with BBC World Service, the British Council and Commonwealth Writers.  

This year's winners and broadcast details

This year over 1,000 entries were received from a record 112 countries, with Papua New Guinea making the shortlist for the very first time. The entries included thought-provoking stories with subjects ranging from slavery, war and corruption to a comedy about a maid in India and a hold-up on a train in South Africa.

English as a Second language

Winner: The Day Dad Stole a Bus by Pericles Silveira (Brazil)
Nayara’s father wants her to see her grandmother’s house after the dam disaster in Bento Rodrigues. But why has he stolen a bus to take her there – and why do things keep disappearing?

This play was broadcast on BBC World Service on Saturday 21 January 2017. A link to listen again is on the BBC site.


English as a First Language

Winner: Playing With Fire by Joanne Gutknecht (Canada)
In a remote house in rural Canada, passions rage like the encroaching wildfire in the marriage of Judy and Arnold. Scandal and infidelity threaten to tear them apart, and their disturbed son Daniel can’t stop playing with his dolls. How will they escape the imminent flame?

The play will be broadcast on BBC World Service on Saturday 18 February 2017. Watch a preview below.


Georgi Markov Prize

Winner: Darkness at Dawn by Erupu Jude (Uganda)
Having lost his father to the Lord Resistant Army after a brutal attack on his village, Chadwong must make a decision. Should he join the Arrow boys like his best friend Apukun, and fight to avenge his father? How will he care for his pregnant mother and siblings? Unable to reach the food aid his family so desperately needs, circumstances conspire to lead him on a desperate path in order to survive in this lawless, unjust world.

Congratulations to all those who took part. For more information, follow the hashtag #BBCPlay on Twitter or visit the BBC World Service competition Facebook page

Find out more about the competition's history

When dramas or interviews are broadcast on BBC Worldwide Radio, we'll post them here. The 24th competition ran from 2013-2014, with the plays being first broadcast in 2015. You can also find out more about previous winners and their plays at the links below.


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 videos, podcasts, articles and free courses to get you going. You can listen to interviews with Willy Russell, Bryony Lavery, Mark Ravenhill, Alan Ayckbourn along with many other notable names. Click on the links below to get going.

Go further into creative writing

If you are now inspired to study the subject in more depth, you can find out more about creative writing courses at The Open University




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