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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC World Service and British Council announce winners of 2009 International Radio Playwriting Competition

Joint press release from BBC World Service and British Council

Efo Kodjo Mawugbe from Ghana and Erin Browne from the USA have been awarded the two top prizes in the BBC World Service and British Council International Radio Playwriting Competition 2009.

Writers from India, Romania, Georgia and Australia were also awarded special prizes in the competition, which is only open to writers outside the UK and invites original 60-minute radio plays on any subject.

The distinguished panel of judges included writer Kwame Kwei-Armah and actor Vincent Ebrahim.

Erin Browne from the USA won the English as a First Language category with her play, Trying, described by the judges as "exquisite", "human" and "spare".

Efo Kodjo Mawugbe from Ghana won the English as a Second Language category with his play, The Prison Graduates, described by the judges as "imaginative", "muscular" and "hysterically funny".

Both winners will receive £2,500 prize money and will come to London to see their play recorded for broadcast.

Both plays will broadcast in the World Drama strand on BBC World Service in November.

In addition, prizes of radios are awarded to the best writers from four regions:

  • Vasil Bassa Janikashvili from Georgia claimed the top prize for Russia and the Caucuses for his play, On The Latch, and Anna Bennetts from Australia won for the Asia Pacific region with her play, Shift.
  • Meher Pestonji from India came first in the South Asia category with her play, Feeding Crows, and Csaba Székely from Romania won for the Europe region with his play, Do You Like Banana, Comrades?

Executive Producer of BBC World Service Drama, Marion Nancarrow, says: "We are thrilled with the two winning plays, but the shortlist itself was very strong and provoked a lot of discussion amongst the judges.

"This year the competition has attracted more entries in the English as a Second Language category than English as a First Language, which is particularly pleasing, given BBC World Service's global audiences.

"This partnership with the British Council allows us to hear voices that might not otherwise be heard."

Sally Cowling, Director, Drama and Dance, British Council, adds: "Sharing each other's experiences and stories is central to the development of international relationships and understanding between cultures.

"Through the British Council's collaboration with BBC World Service, this open international competition offers not only exceptional professional opportunities for its winners but also a window on the priorities, preoccupations and skill of writers from more than 100 countries all over the world."

Notes to Editors

The full judging panel comprised Sally Cowling, Director of Drama and Dance, British Council; Vincent Ebrahim, actor and star of the BBC comedy series, The Kumars At No. 42; Kwame Kwei-Armah, actor, playwright, singer and broadcaster; Robin Lustig, host of BBC World Service's World Drama and presenter of news and current affairs programmes, Newshour (BBC World Service) and The World Tonight (BBC Radio 4); Gwyneth Williams, Director, BBC World Service English; and Marion Nancarrow, Executive Producer, BBC World Service Drama.

BBC World Service Publicity

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