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International Radio Playwriting Competition 2018

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 BBC World Service & British Council International Playwriting Competition, in partnership with The Open University.

The winning plays:

English as a Second Language

A Broken Heart In A Warzone, by 'Aziz H'
A dark comedy about two audacious thieves in a warzone, who steal from other people’s houses when their owners flee to air-raid shelters during the frequent bombings.

Cast in studio recording A Broken Heart In A Warzone

But the thieves’ luck is about to change, as they find themselves inextricably involved in a surprising and dramatic domestic drama.

'Aziz H' is from Yemen.

English as a First Language

By God’s Mercy, by Colette Victor
In this comedy drama, set in an impoverished South African township, Mercy’s new occupation is seen from the point of view of a mattress. And yes we did say a mattress.

Colette Victor

Colette is originally from South Africa and now lives in Belgium.

As part of their prize, both Colette and 'Aziz' are offered the chance to visit the UK to attend a prize-giving ceremony in London and get to hear and see their winning radio scripts being recorded at the BBC, ahead of their broadcast on the BBC World Service in 2019. Previous winners have included both new and established playwrights, with the competition providing a platform for success elsewhere.

Georgi Markov Prize

The Journey To Fortune? by Bode Asiyanbi
As the tension mounts on a popular quiz show, a panellist is surprised to find that he is able to answer the questions put to him. How? His unique experiences on leaving Nigeria for Europe via Libya seem, unwittingly, to have provided them...

Bode Asiyanbi

Bode is from Nigeria.

The Georgi Markov prize honours the script with the most outstanding potential from the competition’s shortlist, and was set up in memory of BBC World Service journalist Georgi Markov (1929-1978), who championed freedom of creative expression. Bode has also been offered to chance to travel to the UK to attend the prize-giving ceremony and to spend two weeks at the BBC, to be mentored by BBC Radio Drama and BBC World Service.

Georgi Markov

The prize has been established by the BBC World Service and its Writer in Residence and the Open University, in association with Annabel and Sasha Markova.

Bode and Colette receiving their awards, with Marion Nancarrow

Regional Winners


Stand Pipe by Derrick Jeffrey (Thailand)


Tanty Get Ah Android by Julien Marvin Neaves (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Pacific

An Incident Over Water by Paul Charlier (Australia)

The Americas

My Beautiful Blue Muse by Elizabeth Ridley (USA)

Original Shortlist

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)

Highly Commended

A Day In October by Tunray Femi, Nigeria
Father and Other Lies by Narda Natiora, Madagascar
55 Shades Of Gay by Jeton Neziraj, Kosovo
Boneshakers by Sigurbjörg Thrastardóttir, Iceland
NO CREAM, NO SUGAR by Klara Chmelarova, Czech Republic
And His Name Was Spring by Rania Yehia, Egypt


My First Real Job by Yram Adrakpanya, Ghana
"The Legend": A Boxing Story. By Rick Apicella, USA
In Humanity 2.0 by Steven David Brown, Austria
Run, Sasha Run by Aston Cooke, Jamaica
Tomahawk Cody by Montana Cypress, USA
Til Death We Part by Amy De Bhrún, Ireland
Love Cuts Deep by Kenneth Gitari, Kenya
Wild Child by Laura Hall, Denmark
The Maternity Monologues by Catherine Higgins-Moore, USA
Jayaguru-the Godfather by Eresina Hwede, Zimbabwe
Love Jihad by Mansi Jhingran, India
Hunters Perception by Simon Mburu, Kenya
All in a Month of May by David McRobbie, Australia
A Moral Struggle by Nigel Edward Obiya, Kenya
Black Hole by Alfrun Ornolfsdottir, Iceland
The Pearl Diver by Simon Rowe, Japan
Ear to Ear by Mozhdeh Sameti, Iran
Walkin' After Midnight by John Stell, USA
Ishmael by Yasen Vasilev, Bulgaria

The Judges

The judging panel comprised the highly-acclaimed actor Raymond Fearon; the award-winning writer and poet Sabrina Mahfouz; and co-Artistic Director of the North Wall, Ria Parry; alongside BBC World Service Senior Commissioning Editor, Steve Titherington; Director of Theatre and Dance at the British Council, Neil Webb; and Executive Producer of BBC Radio Drama, Marion Nancarrow.

The judges making their final selections
The winning plays are remarkable, inventive and beautifully written. It is a privilege to see the breadth of ideas shown by writers around the world.
Steve Titherington, BBC World Service Senior Commissioning Editor

Neil Webb, Director of Theatre and Dance at the British Council, says: “This competition is an important part of the British Council’s programme developing new playwrights around the world, discovering new talent, helping global artists find new opportunities, and connecting with the UK. Sharing stories is a powerful way for us to connect with different cultures, explore difficult issues and be inspired by fresh voices.”

Last year’s winners included a Canadian writer who had never written a play before and a Brazilian writer who’d never written for radio. Find out more about last year's winners here.

Radio is a wonderful medium. Read our tips and think in sound! Your potential audience on BBC World Service is huge – 77 million people around the world.

We are very happy to run this year’s competition in partnership with the British Council, and our co-producers, The Open University, which has allowed us to offer these three prizes.

Our Partners

The International Radio Playwriting Competition is run by the BBC World Service and the British Council and co-produced by The Open University.