We’re delighted to announce our Scottish Voices for 2020. These 31 writers have been selected to take part in our annual year-long development programme consisting of masterclasses, script editing support, bespoke writing opportunities and networking.
The Scottish Voices writers for 2020 are:
Agent: Jessica Cooper, Curtis Brown
Raisah is a Scottish Asian Muslim Writer/Director, based in Glasgow, currently working across television and film. She has been shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab twice - in 2015 with Meet Me By The Water and in 2018 with Safar which is currently in development with Producer Zorana Piggott and The Scottish Film Talent Network. She is in development with WW1, a feature Half-Moon Camp for Film 4. Her writing credits include CBeebies shows Feeling Better, Molly & Mack and Control a BBC The Social phone drama and Aden’s Journey a short drama about a refugee unaccompanied minor for the Celcis course ‘Caring for Children on the Move’. Alumni of the EIFF Talent Lab 2014, Raisah had her first commissioned short as writer/director Meet Me By The Water premiere at EIFF 2016 and directed one of BBC 3’s The Break III, 2018 and was recently a shadowing director on CBeebies Molly & Mack.
Agent: Rachel Daniels at Berlin Associates
Born in Edinburgh, Tim trained as an actor at Drama Centre London. Tim’s play Guy was produced at London’s Pleasance Theatre. Union premiered at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre, Neither God Nor Angel played at Oran Mor / Traverse and A War of Two Halves played at Tynecastle Park stadium. Tim founded Lyre Productions to make Scottish feature films. He wrote and produced award-winning Scottish road movie The Inheritance, Edinburgh love story The Space Between, and schizophrenia love story Riptide. Tim has received a New Writers Award from Playwrights Studio, was selected for the Wellcome Trust Ideas Lab at Edinburgh International Film Festival, and was commissioned as a Starter Artist by National Theatre of Scotland. His play Book Club will receive a performed reading at Dunedin Fringe Festival, New Zealand in March 2020.
Paul is an Edinburgh-based actor, writer, and co-founder of This Is My Story Productions. He has many theatre credits and has previously toured the U.K. and internationally with acclaimed company Nonsense Room Productions, performing in children’s shows including You Choose, which he also devised and wrote. Paul’s first venture into writing was sketch show A Beginner’s Guide to the Fringe in 2005 and he then co-wrote and performed in the critically successful Edinburgh Fringe sellout production of A War of Two Halves in 2018 and 2019. The play received many 5 star reviews and was one of BritishTheatre.com’s Critics Choices of 2019 and will be returning in 2020. He has also written two short films, The Hardest Hobbit to Break and Route de Sort. Paul is currently developing and writing a new play for the Edinburgh Fringe 2020 and filming a pilot for Scottish sitcom Game of Cones.
Mikey is an Edinburgh playwright who writes predominately in the east coast vernacular. His past work comprises of both drama and comedy. Focusing mainly on working class stories and characters. His most recent play, In Her Corner, was developed whilst he was undertaking his masters in playwriting at The University of Napier. This piece went on to enjoy a highly successful run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019 and was later shortlisted for The Papatango new writing prize. Previously, he has won an attachment to The Traverse Theatre, as part of the prestigious ‘Traverse fifty’ and throughout the years he has had many different plays staged all over Scotland. He has also written on commission for the London theatre company, Paines Plough.
Louise is a Second Year student studying MA Screenwriting, led by Brian Ward at The National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield. She wrote a First Year Film at the school, What The Eye Don’t See and wrote and directed radio play The Unicorn on a module led by Jeremy Mortimer.
Louise completed TV Pilot and Series Bible in 2018 with NFTS Scotland, for her Scottish crime drama, Not Proven. Her short play Boy and Man was performed at the SoHo Theatre in October 2019 and she completed her feature script The Other Half in November 2019. Louise is currently working on a Grad Animation project, and about to start work on Grad feature script and a new TV series pilot episode and series bible.
Originally from Aberdeen, Tara is a Glasgow-based writer. She writes about lifestyle and culture for a variety of publications including The Skinny and The List. Tara co-wrote the sitcom At It with fellow Scottish Voices 2020 participant Alison O’Donnell which was shortlisted for the BBC Comedy Room in 2019. In the same year she was awarded a scholarship to attend the NFTS Scotland screenwriting course “Writing the TV Pilot” for her project. In the past year, Tara has been developing a book of humorous personal essays. She is passionate about telling entertaining stories which celebrate and explore modern Scotland, shining a light on its vibrancy and diversity.
Belle trained as an actor at the RSAMD (now RCS) where she won the Percival Steeds Prize for Spoken Word and the Norah Cooper Mulligan Award for Verse Speaking. Her first piece for the stage, an adaptation of Aesop’s Fables had a successful run at the Arches in 2011, She wrote several short pieces for the Village Pub Theatre before she was a mentored playwright with the Playwrights Studio Scotland and shortlisted for the Tron’s Progressive Playwright Award. Her mixed media show Shame ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Scottish Arts Club Award. The following year she returned to the Fringe with Closed Doors, a spoken word storytelling piece supported by Summerhall. In 2019 her show High Land was premiered at Coastival in Scarborough and she received the ICONS commission from Perth Museum and Art Gallery.
Lisa is a Glasgow based writer who writes for the stage and screen. She regularly writes comedy sketches for BBC Scotland’s Short Stuff and has recently created a sketch for Channel 4’s online content. Several of her sketches have amassed over 1 million views. She has written 4 web series’ for theatre company Visible Fictions, has sold out Glasgow Comedy Festival with her sketch group Who Fed Benny?, was one of the writers for stage sketch show Witsherface, and her short plays have been performed across Scotland.
Lisa has an MA in Television Fiction Writing from Glasgow Caledonian University, for which she received a full academic scholarship from Shed Media. She was one of the Playwrights’ Studio mentored playwrights in 2015.
Hannah is a published poet, playwright and performer. Her poetry has been published by Gutter Magazine, The Scotsman Newspaper and others. Her first short fiction, Rocket Girls, was published by Postbox Press (Oct 2018) and her poetry, Finding Seaglass: Poems from The Drift was published by Stewed Rhubarb Press (May 2019). She has been a featured poet at various spoken word nights and festivals including, Edinburgh International Book Festival. Her play, The Drift toured in 2019 with The National Theatre of Scotland and, The Lament for Sheku Bayoh, commissioned by the Royal Lyceum Theatre, was performed as a work in progress as part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2019 and in November 2019 was awarded a New Playwright Award from Playwrights Studio Scotland and named in The List Magazine’s Scottish Theatre Hot List for 2019.
Agent: Julia Kreitman, The Agency
Emma is a comedy and drama writer based in Glasgow. She is currently writing the feature film adaptation of Rebecca Ray’s A Certain Age for Hopscotch Films, and working on original TV ideas with Carnival Films, Banijay and Projector Pictures. Her spec script, Hindsight has been optioned by LA Productions. Emma was awarded a place on the Young Film Foundation 2019/2020 programme and reached the interview stage of the highly competitive BBC TV Drama Writers Programme 2020. She developed her short film Grimm Street through the Scottish Film Talent Network. Grimm Street premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival before screening internationally and winning a BAFTA new talent award for lead actress Sarah Miele. Emma started out writing comedy for BBC Radio Scotland, and educational shorts for BBC Learning and Bitesize.
Sean is a poet, writer and filmmaker from Glasgow, known for his visual poem Time for Love, which reached millions of people online, won a 2019 Royal Television Society award and was translated into five languages. It also inspired a Ted talk, and a movement called the Time for Love Project. Sean’s poems are studied as part of the English curriculum in International Schools. On Creative Scotland’s Bellrock Residency, Sean developed his first feature script, Nostophobia, a psychological horror and relationship drama exploring a gay relationship, and the terror where intimacy and trauma meet. The project is currently in development with producers. Sean published his first poetry collection in 2019 with Speculative Books. Aside from creating work, Sean runs poetry workshops with young people, and is keen to work closely with the LGBTQ+ community within schools, community groups and institutions.
Erin is a playwright and dramaturg, born and based in Edinburgh. She graduated from Queen Margaret University with a BA in Drama and Performance in 2016 and, more recently, the University in Glasgow with a Masters in Theatre Studies in 2018. She first began to explore playwriting through the Traverse Young Writers programme in 2017 and has been writing ever since, her work being rooted in feminism, gallows humour, and the Scottish identity. Erin has had her plays performed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with her one woman show Scuttle being performed at the Assembly Roxy and at Gilmorehill. Her play Mooning was commissioned by the Traverse Theatre as part of their 2019 festival programme. Currently, her play Crickets is in development with Edinburgh based company Shift Theatre.
EDEN LUKE MCINTYRE
Eden Luke is a Glasgow based writer currently studying an MA in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University, having previously received a First-Class BA Honours Degree in English and Film & Media Studies from the University of Stirling. He was part of the BBC Scotland Writersroom The Biggest Weekend 2018, and his original sci-fi comedy series Jettisoned aired on Stirling City Radio in Summer 2019, alongside a sketch comedy show, Well-Fired Radio. His online comedy series for The Comedy Crowd TV, Well-Fired Comedy, won a place at the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival in July 2019. Currently, Eden is developing a series of rehearsed play readings - Up-Staged Readings - to be performed at Glasgow Caledonian University, along with a second series of Jettisoned and a satirical news show for Stirling City Radio.
LINDA DUNCAN MCLAUGHLIN
Agent: Broo Doherty, DHH Literary Agency
Linda is an award-winning playwright, novelist and screenwriter and is a graduate of Glasgow Caledonian’s MATV. She’s recently had several audio-stories commissioned for BBC Digital Learning, ‘Time for a Story’ and was one of four writers shortlisted for BBC Scotland’s Shadow Writers Scheme for River City. She has written for BBC Alba’s FUNC, and story-contributed on Waterloo Road. Her debut novel, Original Sins, was recently shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and her play, Descent, was nominated for Best New Play (CATS Awards), and won a Spirit of the Fringe award. She’s also a professional actor.
Linda’s also been lucky enough to win The Gillian Purvis Award for New Writing, MATV/Shed TV’s Script of the Year, Playwrights’ Studio Scotland’s New Playwright’s Award and Glasgow Women’s Library’s Bold Types; and she was a finalist for the Jenny LecoatScreenwriting Prize, the Frank DeasyScreenwriting Award, and the Screenwriting Goldmine Award.
Kirsty is a Glasgow born writer who graduated from Caledonian University with an MA in Television Fiction Writing. Her 60-minute one-off drama Moira and Margaret was longlisted for the 2019 BBC Writersroom’s Drama room. She has also developed and written a pilot for an original continuing drama based around the Circuit in Glasgow. She’s currently Script Secretary at BBC Scotland’s River City. She has also been involved in generating both factual and scripted online content for River City’s Social Media Team. Most recently she co-wrote an online commission for River City surrounding child sexual abuse and grooming.
Mara is an award-winning performance storyteller based in Edinburgh. She has written and toured several storytelling shows over the last few years, the latest Blood and Gold being presented as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase 2019. It was nominated for the Filipa Braganca award and continues to tour in 2020. Mara has toured and opened the Lagos International Theatre Festival in 2018. She will be the International Teller in Residence at the International Storytelling Centre in Jonesborough, Tennessee in October 2020 and is an invited speaker at the 2020 Clinton Global Initiative University on digital storytelling. She is also currently working with The Royal Lyceum Theatre developing a script of the alternative story of British heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.
Sherry is a prize-winning flash and short story writer living in the Highlands who recently transitioned into playwriting. Since 2015, she has had over fifty pieces published online or in literary journals including Popshots, Molotov Cocktail, Retreat West, Northwords Now, X-R-A-Y, Scottish Book Trust, Exeter Flash and Bath Flash. Highlights include a monologue performed at London’s The Space theatre in 2017, several short stories read at Liars' League London in 2016 and a short story longlisted for the VS Pritchett prize in 2018. She helps organise an annual Highland three-day spoken word festival, judges international short story competitions, sits on the Board of the Highland literary magazine Northwords Now and reads for the wonderfully wacky Taco Bell Quarterly. Her first published short story was about her Peace Corps experience in Ukraine where she lived from 1993-1995.
Hannah is a twenty-five-year-old, Glasgow based, up in coming actor/playwright. After studying acting at City of Glasgow College and touring with Children’s theatre groups Theatre& and Kapow! Theatre Scotland, before moving into writing comedy. Hannah started writing sketches when she was a part of critical acclaimed, all female, comedy collective sketch group “Witsherface”, starring alongside comedy power houses, such as Karen Dunbar and Maureen Carr. She wrote and performed her first play A Work in Progress with the Guilded Balloon at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to rave reviews, before it moved in2019 to the Glasgow comedy festival to sold out audiences. She is currently in development with her new play Sad Girls Club, which takes a comical look at what makes young women sad in modern day Scotland and dedicated to giving a voice to the youth of today who feel “A bit lost in the world” through her writing.
Agent: Christina Pickworth at Imagine Talent.
Lynsey is an award winning playwright, her work has been performed at venues such as The Arches and the Tron Theatre. A Glasgow native, Lynsey’s short film Eat Me was directed by the award winning Tom Shrapnel and her second short, Goon was directed by David Goodall and starred Jane McCarry (BBC's Still Game). Her debut TV pilot The Roar was named in the Top 100 script at Content London 2017 as well as making the Top 10 Drama Scripts list on Coverfly. Her play for young people, Escape Speed, was developed with support from the National Theatre of Scotland. Lynsey was selected for the London Screenwriter's Festival Talent Campus 2018 and shortlisted for the BAFTA Rocliffe Film showcase 2018. Lynsey is currently in development with Blazing Griffin Productions on an original TV drama, she was selected for the EIFF Talent Lab last year with her project Little Hazard which is now in development with Inceptive Films.
Ruaraidh’s an Edinburgh-born actor, writer and comedian. His work includes critically acclaimed solo shows Big Sean, Mikey and Me, Bath Time and Boxman and plays Allie and The Club, all premiering at Gilded Balloon for Edfringe 2012-16, touring Scotland and England including London’s Vault Festival and Park Theatre. Boxman was awarded Dame Diana Rigg’s Top Edfringe 2014 Prize and was shortlisted for BBC Writesroom Comedy Script room. Ruaraidh performed Big Sean, Mikey and Me and Bath Time live at award-winning Soho Radio London in 2015 and also shortlisted for BBC Writersroom Scriptrooms. He’s currently developing coming-of-age feature script Big Sean, Mikey and Me, writing TV Drama version of Allie (recently recorded for radio) and writing Edinburgh-based TV Comedy pilot Boswall Bargains with comedian Megan Shandley, which started off on BBC Scotland’s The Social. Acting includes award-winning feature Night Bus (Simon Baker), Borgia (Netflix) and Bob Servant (BBC Scotland).
Uma is a playwright based in Kirknewton and is currently the Starter Female Political Comedy writer- in- residence at the National Theatre of Scotland. She is a graduate of École Philippe Gaulier and the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Group. Uma is a previous winner of the New Playwrights Award from Playwrights’ Studio Scotland and currently works a staff nurse with NHS Scotland.
Amelia is an award-winning screenwriter, new playwright and a published poet and short story author. She has a background of journalism and editing, and writes creative wellness blog, See-Saw. After graduating from the MA TV Fiction Writing course in 2017, Amelia wrote and directed short film, What the Cat Dragged In (Best Screenplay, CKF International Film Festival March 2019), co-produced with Furry Feet Studios for CotswoldTV. Amelia’s one-act play, Blood Ties, developed with support from the Tron Theatre and GAMH, has been programmed in the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2020. She has explored comedy with sketches for Witsherface (Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2018) and jokes for BBC Scotland’s TV and radio quiz show, ‘Breaking the News’. Amelia is currently developing a sitcom pilot, stage musical, radio play and her next short film
Georgia is an award-winning playwright who’s most recent play Soft Boy won the ELT and National Newspaper’s playwriting prize. She recently completed her Masters in playwriting and dramaturgy at the University of Glasgow. Originally from Edinburgh, Georgia moved to India when she was nine and completed her schooling there, before returning to the UK for University. She began developing her writing while living in Hull during the City of Culture 2017 year. Her work was showcased as part of Hull Truck Theatre’s GROW festival and within the City of Culture 2017 programme, through her theatre company Junior Adults. Working as a freelance theatre practitioner and engaging with young people and communities across Scotland, Georgia is eager to tell stories that reflect Scotland’s diversity.
Alison has been a professional actor for 15 years, working across theatre, TV and radio and is in the very beginning stages of pursuing a career in writing. In 2019 her first sitcom script, co-written with fellow Scottish Voices member Tara Hepburn, got to the interview stage for BBC Comedy Room. She is currently working on a sitcom pilot and a Christmas-themed romantic comedy film set in Glasgow.
Mhairi's work has been performed at the Tron Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Assembly Roxy, The CCA and Oran Mor. She was a finalist of the Tron’s Progressive Playwright Award. Her short play Preparing for the Afterlife was directed by Andy Arnold for the Take Me Somewhere festival. Mhairi has written plays for In Motion theatre company's Winter Words and ReWrite Festivals. She was selected by the Playwrights Studio Scotland for their 2019 Mentoring Programme. Mhairi makes up one third of 'The Tandem Writing Collective'. Her new work can be seen at the Tron and Traverse this year, 2020. Her short film script Little White Lies was shortlisted by Underwire Festival and co-produced by INDELIBLE INK through the Glasgow Film Accelerator Scheme run by Sigma Films and the SFTN. Mhairi writes and performs spoken word poetry and can communicate in British Sign Language.
Agent: Matthew Dench, Dench Arnold
Amna is a comedy writer with broadcast credits including a sitcom on BBC Radio 4 and currently has several TV projects in production. She initially made a name for herself on Twitter under @AGlasgowGirl. She has a background in journalism and broadcasting where she focuses on culture, race and politics which has influences her screenwriting inspired from her own life and beyond. Amna wrote and directed a comedy sketch for Channel 4 which was released early this year. Last year, she spent time in a writers room of a satirical late night TV show on the same channel. She loves to write strong, flawed and fun female characters of colour who veer far away from the usual stereotypes and cliches thrust upon us.
Nasreen (Nas) is a 2017 1st class BA Film graduate from Screen Academy Scotland, and Brooklyn College NYC. Following her degree, she worked as an Intern Producer at Edinburgh Napier University, producing award winning short films for The Scottish Prison Service and The National Museum of Scotland. Nas was selected for BBC’s BAME Writer/Director New Voices on Screen Lab 2016 and the Network Talent Scheme 2017 where she wrote and directed a scene with the cast and crew of Casualty. She has written, produced and directed the short films ‘Is This It?’ and ‘Hearts’- which was selected and screened at The Scottish Queer International Film Festival 2018 and The Scottish Short Film Festival 2019. In March 2019 she completed Aaron Sorkin’s Screenwriting Masterclass, and later was awarded a scholarship from the NFTS Scotland - Writing the TV Pilot- developing her pilot episode, Carpet Arms.
Karelia is a comedy and drama writer for TV, cinema and theatre. She recently completed a NFTS Scotland, ‘Writing the TV Pilot’ course developing her pilot script Compos Mentis. She was a Euroscript Feature Finalist 2018 for 50.7%, Screencraft Drama Semi-Finalist 2017 for The Sparring Partner And Blue Cats 2015 Cordelia Prize Quarter Finalist for Free-Falling. Karelia is a member of Sussex Playwrights and regularly performs stand up comedy, as an after-dinner comedy speech maker and as part of an improv group, all of which are huge fun and supposedly improve her comic writing.
Agent: Corrie McGuire, Corrie Maguire Management
Ashley is an award-winning comedian, writer, presenter and content creator. Ashley’s online work has amassed over 40 million views across her own channels, BBC Scotland’s Short Stuff and Channel 4’s Sparks. Her writing credits include two radio pilots “Cat’s Crime” and “Conundrums My Dad Says”, both broadcast on Radio Scotland and 5 Edinburgh Fringe shows. She has a BA in film making and is currently developing several long-form scripted projects. She is the star of BBC Scotland’s Up For It! which returns for its second series in 2020, and has a radio show on Radio Scotland. She has also appeared on The Blame Game (BBC NI), Breaking The News (BBC Scotland) and Fred MacAulay Live At The Stand (BBC Radio 4).
Glasgow based actor-writer Manjot is best known for playing the role of PC Surjit Singh in BBC Scotland’s BAFTA award winning sketch-sitcom Scot Squad, and Mr Wasu in CBBC’s The Demon Headmaster. A former radio presenter/producer, Manjot wrote, produced and performed in sketch show The CraZians and sitcom Da Southsiderz, for radio station Awaz FM.
In 2012 Manjot co-wrote his first play How To Make A Killing In Bollywood. The play toured extensively throughout the UK and played to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Manjot is currently writing a sitcom pilot and screenplay for his second feature for the Punjabi film market. He is also developing TV treatments for a dark Scottish-Asian comedy, a coming-of-age mini-series and a psychological horror series.
Originally from Norway, but based in Scotland, Joern is an award winning writer and director who graduated from both the Edinburgh College of Art and Screen Academy Scotland. He has written and directed a range of films that have been presented at numerous international film festivals and broadcast on several television channels including ARTE and Canal +. Joern gained a BAFTA Scotland nomination for his controversial film Little Red Hoodie. His black comedy Asylum, funded by Film 4, was in 2011 nominated for an Amanda. In 2018 Joern completed his first feature film, Lake Over Fire, an experimental film showing in competition at the Munich international film festival. Joern was recently given a VIP grant (Growth Through Project) from the Norwegian Film Institute to develop a new feature film project.
What does it mean to be a Scottish Voice? Find out below from two of the 2019 alumni, Niki Rooney and Maryam Hamidi.
The launch of the 2020 BBC Writersroom Scottish Voices
There have been a few things I didn’t expect to get out of the Scottish Voices group. First of all, the amount of opportunities to pitch for paid work with actual credits. I’d never considered doing anything for radio before, so getting the chance to write a BBC Learning audio story and a CBBC podcast took me out of my comfort zone in a positive way. I’d never considered sketch writing either, but I also ended up writing an episode of Swashbuckle and taking part in a shadow scheme for The Dumping Ground has led to a commission for the show. Being part of the Scottish Voices group added credibility to my name, and I’m definitely seeing the benefits of that reflected in the amount of interest I’ve had in me and my work recently.
I also didn’t expect to meet so many other writers and become friends with them! In such an isolated, freelance career, it often feels like you’re screaming into a silent void. Now we all scream into a WhatsApp group and support each other through the ups and downs of writing life, as well as sharing advice and information about what’s going on in the industry. For me, that sense of community has been one of the most valuable additions to my career over the last year and a half! It’s been a fantastic an opportunity and the BBC Writersroom team work really hard to support emerging writers and open doors for us that might otherwise feel impossible to access. The TV industry can feel quite unwelcoming at times, so it's brilliant to have advocates for fresh (Scottish) voices, to ensure that they are heard.
The Scottish Voices group is not an egotistical show boat or about looking good on twitter. It’s a very practical gig with real opportunities which is a bit unsettling after rattling around this industry trying to prise open its doors. Like a lot of good things that happen they creep up unexpectedly. Sitting in the Scottish Voices Writers Hub room at BBC Glasgow as we tap out various adventures for screen has been one of the most revelatory experiences for me. What? Sharing opportunities with other writers is nourishing? Celebrating their successes is fun? Having writers around you who take an incisive interest in your work is beneficial? Yes reader, these rhetorical questions are getting embarrassing now. Sorry, I’ll stop. Good things have happened for me. I have managed to wrangle some meetings and convince producers to allow me to write for CBeebies. I had a radio comedy pilot produced. I think some other things happened - but it’s all a joyful blur now. I have built really brilliant friendships with other writers who often attend events together for the ulterior aim of getting a drink together afterwards, but how lovely to not show up at free wine events on your tod, but strut in slo-mo flanked by pals.
Ultimately though, my writing’s got better. Almost imperceptibly at first and then one day you wake up and all that confidence, nurturing and talent championing has given you the space and time and support to believe in your work, your skills and your voice - and that’s the tipping point. Writing for TV and Film is one continuous merry dance between success and failure, and sharing the successes and failures with fellow writers is way healthier than doing it all on your own.