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The Writer's Prize

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Kate Rowland Kate Rowland 11:22, Friday, 16 November 2012

Editor's note: BBC Audio and Music has joined forces with BBC Writersroom to launch The Writer's Prize: a prestigious new writing opportunity for radio drama and comedy writers. The closing date for entries is 9am, Monday 3rd December 2012. PMcD

The Writers Prize

You already know as avid listeners what a brilliant medium radio is, and at some point you've probably encountered a programme that was so compelling, emotionally engaging and informing that you stopped what you were doing and stayed hooked to the radio, well that's what the judges for The Writer's Prize are looking for.

Whether you are writing drama or comedy we want to see bold, ambitious ideas, rich, funny, complex comedy characters, scripts that will resonate and make us want to hear your idea on the radio and see those characters come to life.

Years ago I directed the first radio play by the then unknown writer Lee Hall. I Luv You Jimmy Spud. The imagery and ideas were so inspiring they literally leapt out of the radio into our hearts and minds. The main character Jimmy was a little Geordie lad, interviewed by the Angel Gabriel for the chance to become an angel and save his Dad who was dying of cancer. Jimmy encountered prejudice and suspicion but was determined to change the course of history. Because radio inhabits our imagination and allows us to into the world created by the writer, no one was in any doubt that Jimmy had wings and could jump off the Tyne Bridge. Jimmy Spud was full of humour and humanity, intimate and epic at the same time. So your writing can involve talking horses, personal tragedies, Dickens London, the possibilities are endless but you must know who your characters are, what they want to say and why you want to write this particular comedy or drama.

The majority of R4 drama is a single authored piece and allows the writer incredible freedom but you've got to have enough story, complexity, twists and turns to keep the audience listening for a full 45 minutes.

Remember everyone in the audience will dress their characters differently, visualise the world in a distinct and unique way; in the main it's a one to one experience and that relationship allows you to tell stories in ways that that you wouldn't be able to in other mediums.

So if you've got a story to tell why not take the chance and enter The Writer's Prize which has opened its doors to original drama and comedy scripts.

My fellow judges writer Roy Williams, writer/performer Miles Jupp and commissioners Caroline Raphael and Jeremy Howe are all excited by what this award might bring. So don't miss the closing date of 3 December 2012, and get writing, and here's a round-up of some of the very good reasons why any writer should want to write for radio:

  • BBC radio is by far the biggest single commissioner of original drama and comedy in the world - full stop.
  • You can get amazingly successful and celebrated actors to be in your radio comedy or play - and they don't even need to shave/do make up/commit to weeks of filming.
  • Radio is the cinema of the airwaves - it's all about the visual world conjured up in the listener's head, and the ambition and scope the writer brings to it.
  • You can take your story, characters and listeners anywhere in the known (or unknown) universe without the budgetary constrictions you'd get with a film or TV shoot.

Here are some useful links which you might find helpful to get you started. Good luck!

Kate Rowland, Creative Director, New Writing


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