It’s been a year since I won the Wales Drama Award. A biennial award set up by BBC Writersroom, BBC Wales and National Theatre Wales to celebrate writing talent working in Wales. I submitted the first draft of a new play I’d written called ‘Parallel Lines’.

I won £10,000. And immediately gave up the part time job that had funded my writing habit for a number of years. The £10,000 bought me some time and winning the award bought me a small drop of self belief.

Winning the Wales Drama Award was not a golden ticket to a six part prime time drama series or a large scale National Theatre production. Nor do I believe it should be. I have always prided myself on being judged by my work and my work alone. There is no easy route to making a career as a writer. You have to work hard and write hard, with the same fire and enthusiasm for your 100th script as you had for your first. But what the award has done for me has been to present me with possibilities, opportunities and open doors.

I gained an agent. A good one. I have been invited to apply for BBC schemes, workshops and writing opportunities within the BBC.  With one of the workshops came an opportunity to pitch a film for the BBC3 drama strand for iPlayer. About thirty writers were invited to the workshop where we met lots of interesting BBC people and had chats with inspiring writers Toby Whitehouse and Levi David Addai. We all wrote a one page pitch and eight of us were selected to go to script. Three of those scripts were then chosen to be made and fortunately mine was one of them. “Tag” is filming as we speak.

And my play, ‘Parallel Lines’?

It was important to me, that a play that had won the Wales Drama Award was produced and played in Wales and Welsh new writing company Dirty Protest felt the same. So, a year on from winning the inaugural Wales Drama Award, Parallel Lines premiers at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff on November 20th for a two week run.

It’s been a good year.

Katherine Chandler is a Welsh writer was the winner of the inaugural Wales Drama Award. Follow Katherine on Twitter: @KathChandler2

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by beerfagjoy

    on 20 Nov 2013 19:38

    Ingmar. Thank you. I like writing so much I'll stick to fiction.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Ingmar

    on 20 Nov 2013 16:42

    Congratulations, Katherine.

    Out of curiosity, does the BBC Wales prize insist on Wales based writers. The BBC Scotland equivalent doesn't and seemed to be rather proud of making the award to London bases writers.

    beerfagjoy, the procedure is you or your agent contacts them and shows them a sample of your work which makes you stand out against the many other writers trying to get on the show and convinces them you have something to offer them. There's no such thing as being qualified. As for pay, that depends on many factors. How many eps you write, how many credits you already have. All these shows will have many writers who do an ep or two pa, earning a lot less that £40K, they'll have a smaller group of writers who write lots, take part in storylining, do rewrites and make a lot more than £40K per annum. Except for Doctors. I doubt even the most experienced writers on the show get anywhere near £40K. I think that also applies to radio.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by beerfagjoy

    on 19 Nov 2013 18:19

    Hello, Katherine. I'll play devil's advocate if I may. Supposing, just supposing, I'm a talented writer. One day I win a prestigious competition. I feel like a proper writer now; I have validity in the profession, management has approved of me, I'm grateful for the opportunity to excite their interest. A year later the novelty of acclaim wears off because my prize money is gone. I want to work as a scriptwriter on a soap at the BBC; I'm qualified; everybody knows it. What's the procedure?

    The Writers Room presents a glossy front; what about the substance? Pay for example - £40,000 per annum for an East Enders/Archers script writer?

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