The Tinniswood Award 2014 is presented to the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the UK from 1 October 2013 to 31 October 2014.
The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors, with the prize of £1,500 sponsored by the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society. The judges this year were Sue Teddern, Amanda Whittington and Kate Chapman.
The shortlist is as follows:
Goodbye by Morwenna Banks
Produced by Heather Larmour, BBC Northern Ireland, 75’, BBC R4
Lizzie and Jen have shared everything. When Lizzie is diagnosed with cancer their worlds are turned upside down. Together the friends negotiate the stages of her treatment and see their friendship tested and redefined in ways they could not have predicted. And when they learn that Lizzie doesn't have much time left, they struggle to do the hardest thing of all. To say Goodbye.
The judges said: A skilled combination of funny, moving, achingly sad and extraordinarily life-enhancing, despite the subject at its heart.
Morwenna Banks (left) is well-known as an actor and writer. Her first feature The Announcement won several awards and her latest feature film Miss You Already, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is set for release in 2015. Current projects include the comedy Damned for Sky Arts television (co-written with Jo Brand); Shush, a new Radio 4 series co-starring and co-written with Rebecca Front; a further new Radio 4 series reprising cult sketch show Absolutely, winner of the 2014 BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Scripted Comedy (Live Audience); and a new series of Up the Women for BBC 2.
The Good Listener by Fin Kennedy
Produced by Boz Temple-Morris, Holy Mountain, 45’, BBC R4
Intelligence agents at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) are tracking three young British Muslims as they head for Syria. Henry Morcombe, an experienced GCHQ analyst, is tasked with establishing whether they intend to deliver humanitarian aid or join the armed conflict. How to protect the public, while keeping within legal and ethical boundaries, is far from straightforward, and tensions emerge as the team responds to unfolding events.
The judges said: An ever-relevant subject, treated with wit, pace and a real understanding of the craft. Highly compelling radio.
Fin Kennedy (left) is an award-winning playwright, freelance dramaturg and producer and Co-Artistic Director of Tamasha, where he will become Artistic Director in 2015. He has written for Soho Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, Southwark Playhouse, Half Moon, The Red Room and BBC Radio 4, and his plays are also produced internationally. He is writer-in-residence at Mulberry School in east London and founder of Schoolwrights, the UK's first playwrights-in-schools training scheme.
Men Who Sleep In Cars by Michael Symmons Roberts
Produced by Susan Roberts, BBC Radio Drama North, 44’, BBC R4
One night in the week preceding England’s first World Cup fixture, three men whose lives have been turned upside down by the recession sleep in their cars on the streets of Manchester. They listen to the radio for company, hearing the build-up to the World Cup, where some of the most powerful men in the world of sport compete on the world stage. As the play develops we gradually learn how these three came to this, and how their lives interconnect.
The judges said: Timely, visceral and lyrical, this play examined the underbelly of contemporary urban life in surprising ways.
Michael Symmons Roberts (left) is one of Britain’s leading poets. His six poetry collections and his work for radio and as an opera librettist have won him many awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Association. The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has described him as “the clearest and purest voice currently sounding in British poetry”. He is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Previous winners of the Tinniswood Award, established in memory of English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood, who died in 2003, have included Hannah Silva, Colin Teevan, Murray Gold, Mike Bartlett and Rachel Joyce.
Robert V. Adams, Chair of the WGGB Books Committee from 2004 to 2009, and also a member of the Guild’s Executive Committee, died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 70.
He had a marvellous career, starting work as a gardener, hotel cellarman and prison officer at Pentonville, but before long becoming governor of a young offenders' institution, resigning to become director of a Barnardo's community project keeping young people out of the criminal justice system. He became an academic and held several professorial positions relating to social work.
Robert Adams edited and wrote many books about crime, protest, empowerment, social work and complementary health. But he also wrote children’s books, poetry, short stories and novels, under different names. His novel Antman was published in 2005 and is a psychological thriller about a man who uses ants to kill people. He also wrote the crime novel The Really Dreadful Crime Company and was a member of the Crime Writers' Association.
Many of his books are centred on Hull and East Yorkshire, where he lived with his wife Yasmeen in a house they designed and built, with a garden running into unspoilt woodland, on the outskirts of the ancient town of Hessle, a stone's throw from the Humber Bridge.
As Chair of the WGGB Books Committee, Robert was enthralled by the possibilities of new technology in publishing, and his big project was to set up the Writers’ Guild Books Co-operative, intended to help authors to publish their own works as ebooks and by print-on-demand. Unfortunately the project foundered, as most participants wanted the WGGB to be their publisher, rather than participating in a true co-operative, which was Robert’s vision.
But even when he became ill, Robert was still enthusiastically working out new ways to regenerate the idea of the co-operative.
WGGB General Secretary Bernie Corbett said: “Only a few months ago Robert was phoning me and emailing me, keen to get working on some new projects. We have lost a truly original and committed author. Everybody who knew him in one part of his multi-faceted life is amazed to learn how many other lives he was leading simultaneously. What an inspiring colleague we have lost.”
Robert Adams’s funeral will take place at 1.30 p.m. on Friday 16 January 2015 at Haltemprice Crematorium, Main Street, Hull HU10 6NS. Afterwards, Tranby Lane, Anlaby, for burial; at 3 p.m. a reception at the East Riding Rooms on the Weir in Hessle.
Sheila MacLeod, former Chair of WGGB, said of Robert V. Adams:
"I was really saddened to learn of the death of Robert Adams, whom I knew from the Books Committee, of which he was Chair for several years – beyond the call of duty, it seemed to me.
"We had a really good committee (again it seems to me) in that we all liked and respected one another. Robert was the sort of person you instinctively trusted to take charge, whatever the situation might be. And whatever that situation might be, his integrity shone through and won the day.
"We did argue, but nothing ever got nasty or out of hand, thanks to the ever-temperate and judicious supervision of our Chair. Being of a more cynical turn of mind than Robert (and having been lobbied by many of our me-me-me members), I felt from the beginning that the publishing co-operative wasn't going to work, but I really regret for his sake and for all the others who got involved that it foundered.
"On a personal level (which in fact probably comes down to a few conversations in the pub along with other colleagues after our meetings) I have to say that Robert was consistently sympathetic, responsive and friendly. I may have made him sound humourless in being such a good person (which he undoubtedly was) but in fact he was always witty and that twinkle in his extraordinarily blue eyes had us all captivated.
"RIP, cher collègue. I'm glad and privileged to have known you."
By Gail Renard
The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, in association with the British Comedy Awards, has named the 2014 Comedy Writer of the Year.
Brendan O'Carroll (left), famous for writing and starring in BBC TV's Mrs. Brown's Boys, is this year's winner.
It took O'Carroll a long time to become a success. Mrs. Brown's Boys started as a radio play in Ireland in 1992, grew into novels, and a few years after that O'Carroll formed his own theatre company, using his friends and family to cut down costs. When the actress playing Mrs. Brown failed to show, O'Carroll put on the dress and 12 years later the Mrs. Brown's Boys TV series became a hit.
O'Carroll was touched to receive the WGGB award, which he hadn't expected. "It only took me five novels, two screenplays, seven plays and three series to get here."
Brendan O'Carroll is a lesson in hard work, perseverance and self-belief. He also makes millions of us laugh. What better reasons to honour a writer?
The British Comedy Awards will be broadcast at 9pm on Channel 4 on Wednesday 17 December 2014.
Watch a clip of last year's Mrs. Brown's Boys Christmas special:
Photo of Brendan O'Carroll by Ming Ho
The West Midlands Writers’ Guild has joined library staff, visitors and campaigners in condemning planned cuts to the new Library of Birmingham, which opened last year.
The plans, announced by Birmingham City Council last week, would mean the loss of around 100 staff, and opening hours cut from 73 to 40 hours a week.
"In its short time, the Library of Birmingham has become a huge focus for every kind of artistic, educational and media work that goes on in this exciting and vibrant city,” said Writers' Guild West Midlands regional representative William Gallagher. “You can't make a building be important but when it is, when it has become vital, you can easily throw all of that away.
"A Library of Birmingham that is staffed, open and used to the potential we were promised and that we have seen in action is a cause for civic, artistic and regional pride. A library that is closed is a defeat.
"That we have to fight for the library after only a year is an excoriating embarrassment for Birmingham. But that we will fight, that the writers and artists and public of our city are fighting for the library, is testament to what this building and its staff mean to us."
The £188-million library is Europe’s largest and the Labour-controlled Birmingham Council said it had no choice but to press ahead with plans in the light of Government cuts, which have seen the number of libraries in the UK fall by 7.5% since 2010.
“As the largest and most visited public library in Europe the Library of Birmingham is not only of regional importance but of national and international importance too. It should be treated as such,” said Writers’ Guild Deputy Chair and Birmingham resident Tim Stimpson.
“At a time when Manchester has just been awarded £78 million by central Government for a new ‘flexible art space’ it is not acceptable that Birmingham’s cultural sector has been left to fend for itself yet again.
“The West Midlands Writers’ Guild calls on the region’s citizens, its institutions and interest groups to come together to demand that the Library of Birmingham is given the financial support it requires.”
Writer, presenter, comedian, actress and producer Sandi Toksvig will present the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain annual Awards at RIBA, in London, on the evening of Monday 19 January 2015.
High-profile writers from the worlds of TV, film, theatre, radio, books, poetry and videogames have been regulars at this annual, red-carpet event through its 50-year history.
The Awards, which launched in 1961, give professional writers from across Great Britain the opportunity to honour their peers, and celebrate the importance of writing to the creative industries, both nationally and abroad.
A special award for outstanding contribution to writing and writers is presented every year.
“As a long-standing member of the Writers' Guild I am delighted to be presenting the WGGB Awards,” said Sandi Toksvig. “I am looking forward to an evening of fun and fanfare.”
The shortlist in 13 categories is as follows:
TV Drama – Long Form
Line of Duty (Jed Mercurio), Happy Valley (Sally Wainwright), Peaky Blinders (Steven Knight)
TV Drama – Short Form
The Great Train Robbery (Chris Chibnall), Turks & Caicos (David Hare), Marvellous (Peter Bowker)
TV Drama – Long Running Series
Doctors, Series 15, Episode 66 “Silver on the Heath” (Toby Walton), Holby City, Series 16, Episode 13 “Self Control” (Rebecca Wojciechowski), Doctors, Series 16, Episode 42 “Boiling Point” (Dale Overton)
TV Situation Comedy
Up the Women (Jessica Hynes), Him and Her (Stefan Golaszewski), House of Fools (Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer)
Best Children’s TV Script
Bye Bye (Denise Cassar and the Bing Writing team), Wizards Versus Aliens: The Thirteenth Floor part 2 (Phil Ford), Strange Hill High: MCDXX Men (Mark Oswin & James Griffiths)
A Night Visitor (Stephanie Jacob), Magpie (Lee Mattinson), Dangerous Visions: The Bee Maker (Anita Sullivan)
Helen Keen’s It is Rocket Science (Helen Keen & Miriam Underhill), The Brig Society (Marcus Brigstoke with Jeremy Salsby, Toby Davies, Nick Doody, Dan Tetsell & Steve Punt), John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme (John Finnemore)
Best First Novel
The Shock of the Fall (Nathan Filer), A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Eimear McBride), Barbarians (Tim Glencross)
Best Writing in a Video Game
A Machine for Pigs (Dan Pinchbeck), 80 Days (Meg Jayanth), Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark (Kevin Beimers)
Best First Screenplay
Pride (Stephen Beresford), The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard), Starred Up (Jonathan Asser)
Filth (Jon S Baird), Metro Manila (Sean Ellis & Frank E Flowers), Philomena (Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan)
James I (Rona Munro), Visitors (Barney Norris), Dr Scroggy’s War (Howard Brenton)
Best Play for Young Audiences
Minotaur (Kevin Dyer), The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Mike Kenny), Girls Like That (Evan Placey)
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