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International Playwriting Competition 2018
The only global competition for radio playwrights.
26th International Radio Playwriting Competition
This global competition, hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council, in partnership with The Open University, offers the unique opportunity for playwrights to use the medium of radio drama to reach an international audience.
Writers from around the world are invited to submit their scripts in one of two categories - English as a First Language or the English as a Second Language category. This year the two first prizes can come from either category. Both winners will attend an award ceremony in London and see their plays recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service.
As well as the two main prizes, a third award – the Georgi Markov prize – celebrates the most promising script from the competition’s shortlist in honour of BBC World Service journalist and writer Georgi Markov (1929-1978). The winner of this prize will also travel to London for the award ceremony and spend two weeks being mentored by BBC Radio Drama and BBC World Service.
We are delighted to announce the shortlist of plays for the 2018 International Radio Playwriting Competition, which this year received nearly 1,500 scripts from 114 countries.
English as a Second language
• The Journey To Fortune? by Bode Asiyanbi (Nigeria)
• Token Dead White Guy by Africa Ukoh (Nigeria)
• My Migingo by Edith Osiro (Kenya)
• The Storychild by Mohamad Aziz Salim (Malaysia)
• Shadows of Saint Petersburg by Xenia Pattberg (The Netherlands)
• The Checkpoint Recital by Or Amit (Czech Republic)
• The Meaning of Life by Anna Spatar (Russia)
• A Boat Story by Muhammad Addam (Egypt)
• A Broken Heart in a Warzone by Aziz H (Yemen)
English as a First Language
• Fields of Glittering Things by Iz Mazano (Zimbabwe)
• Atacama by Augusto Amador (USA)
• Stand Pipe by Derrick Jeffrey (Thailand)
• Tanty Get Ah Android by Julien Marvin Neaves (Trinidad and Tobago)
• By God’s Mercy by Colette Victor (Belgium)
• An Incident Over Water by Paul Charlier (Australia)
• Fire in the Head R Johns (Australia)
These will now be considered by our panel of judges, who will convene shortly to make their decisions. The panel comprises:
Acclaimed RSC and film actor, Ray Fearon
Award winning poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz
Award-winning joint Artistic Director of North Wall Ria Parry
Director of Theatre & Dance, British Council, Neil Webb
Commissioning Editor, English, BBC World Service, Steve Titherington
Executive Producer, BBC Radio Drama Marion Nancarro
The winners of all these categories, as well as the regional prizes and Highly Commended and Commended plays will be announced in August. Keep an eye on this page!
Further details on the competition are online at the BBC World Service.
Dr Derek Neale, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, The Open University, said: “The Open University is delighted to continue co-producing with the World Service this unique competition. It encourages new talent nationally and internationally, and is a wonderful source of inspiration and insight for our students at all levels – undergraduate or MA, whether they are just starting or experienced scriptwriters.”
Mary Hockaday, Controller, BBC World Service English, said: “Returning for the 26th time, this fantastic competition remains a unique platform for writers to have their radio play heard by the BBC World Service’s millions of listeners across the globe. We’re looking for distinctive voices and compelling storytelling that reflects the world around us, and we’re eager to see what scripts are submitted this year.”
Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council said: “It’s a pleasure to be working with the BBC again in the 26th year of the competition, which continues to provide an important platform for talented writers from around the world. The universal desire to tell our stories coupled with the global reach of the World Service makes the competition an invaluable bridge between people of the world and the United Kingdom.”
Last year's winners
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 .
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 was broadcast on BBC World Service on Saturday 18 February 2017. Watch a preview below. A link to listen again is on the BBC site.
The tracks on this album offer an invaluable insight into a wide range of techniques and practices surrounding Creative Writing. Writers as diverse as Alan Ayckbourn, Ian McMillan and Tanika Gupta talk openly about their approaches and attitudes to all aspects of writing from original concept to final drafts and productions. Writing for stage, print, television and radio is discussed in engaging and articulate detail. This material forms part of The Open University course A363 Advanced creative writing.Listen now ❯Creative Writing
From getting inspiration to getting published - take your writing to the next level with our tips and advice.Read now ❯Ian McMillan's Writing Lab: Get writing: Tips and advice
The writer, director and executive producer of To Walk Invisible, Sally Wainwright, talks about how she portrayed the tale of the Brontë sisters to a modern audience and the effect they have had on her as a writer.Watch now ❯To Walk Invisible: Interview with Sally Wainwright
Study with the OU
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction.Learn more ❯Start writing fiction
Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will help you to develop your perception of the world about you and enable you to see the familiar things in everyday life in a new light. You will also learn how authors use their own personal histories to form the basis of their work.Learn more ❯Writing what you know
Do you want to get more out of drama? This free course, Approaching plays, is designed to develop the analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of literary plays. You will learn about dialogue, stage directions, blank verse, dramatic structure and conventions and aspects of performance.Learn more ❯Approaching plays
Dr Derek Neale - Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
A novelist and short story writer with a practical and research interest in drama and film, script and life writing, I have recorded many interviews with novelists, playwrights, autobiographers and biographers about their approach to writing. I taught fiction and dramatic writing at UEA over a number of years, and have also facilitated writing activities in a prison. I gained my Creative Writing MA and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from UEA, and joined the OU in 2003, helping to design and write the materials for a whole new generation of Open University writing courses.
Derek enjoys working with BBC World Service on the series, commenting “The Open University is delighted to continue co-producing with the World Service this unique competition. It encourages new talent nationally and internationally, and is a wonderful source of inspiration and insight for our students at all levels – undergraduate or MA, whether they are just starting or experienced scriptwriters.”