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Writers' Guild Awards winners

on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:37. Posted in General

The Writers' Guild Awards were presented in London on Wednesday 13 November 2013

Olivia Hetreed-440

Writers' Guild President Olivia Hetreed introducing the Awards (Photo: WGGB/Simon Denton). More photos: www.facebook.com/thewritersguild

TV Drama Series
Winner: Silk (Peter Moffat)
Shortlisted: The Village (Peter Moffat), Broadchurch (Chris Chibnall)

Continuing Drama
Winner: Coronation Street
Shortlisted: Holby City, Casualty, Waterloo Road, EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Doctors

TV Comedy
Winner: Getting On (Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, Joanna Scanlan)
Shortlisted: Fresh Meat (Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain), Him and Her (Stefan Golaszewski)

TV Drama Short Form
Winner: The Girl (Gwyneth Hughes)
Shortlisted: Room at the Top (Amanda Coe), Murder:Joint Enterprise (Robert Jones)

Children’s TV
Winner: The Dumping Ground - What Would Gus Want? (Elly Brewer)
Shortlisted: What’s the Big Idea - What is Art? (Alan Gilbey), The Dumping Ground - The Truth is Out There (Emma Reeves)

Radio Drama
Winner: Tennyson and Edison (David Pownall)
ShortlistedL The Go-Between (adapted by Frances Byrnes from the novel by LP Hartley), Once Upon a Time There Was a Beatrix (Lavinia Murray)

Radio Comedy
Winner: Susan Calman is Convicted (Susan Calman)
Shortlisted: Fags, Mags & Bags (Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary), Meet David Sedaris (David Sedaris)

Books
Winner: The Universe versus Alex Woods (Gavin Extence)
Shortlisted: Big Brother (Lionel Shriver), The Card (Graham Rawle)

Videogames
Winner: Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell)
Shortlisted: Tomb Raider (Rhianna Pratchett), Lego City Undercover (Graham Goring)

First Screenplay
Winner: What Richard Did (Malcolm Campbell)
Shortlisted: Sightseers (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram), Good Vibrations (Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson), Grabbers (Kevin Lehane), 

Screenplay
Winner: My Brother the Devil (Sally El Hosaini)
Shortlisted: Byzantium (Moira Buffini), Skyfall (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan)

Theatre Play
Winner: Quietly (Owen McCafferty)
ShortlistedL Brilliant Adventures (Alistair McDowall), The Thrill of Love (Amanda Whittington)

Theatre Play for Young People
Winner: Whole (Philip Osment)
Shortlisted: I, Cinna (Tim Crouch), Mr Holgado (Christopher William Hill)

A special Writers' Guild Award was presented by Lee Hall to David Edgar for his outstanding contribution to writing and writers.

New Faces: Radio Drama In The Midlands

on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 14:28. Posted in Radio

A Writers' Guild West Midlands event - Wednesday, December 11, 7.30pm - 9.30pm

In recents months two important chairs have been filled in BBC Radio Drama. Sean O'Connor has taken the reins at the The Archers. Meanwhile Jessica Dromgoole is helming the landmark World War I drama, Home Front. Sean and Jessica will join us to talk about their shows, the craft of Radio Drama and opportunities within the industry.

Sean O'Connor was a producer on The Archers in the late 1990s, before moving on to TV shows such as EastEnders, Hollyoaks & Minder. He has also directed extensively in theatre, including his own adaptations of Vertigo, Marnie and Romeo & Juliet, as well as producing a film version of Terrence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea. His book Handsome Brute was published this year.

Jessica Dromgoole has directed in theatre and radio, winning various awards including the Prix Italia for Original Radio Drama, a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Audio Drama, and a bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Drama. Between 1988 and 1991 Jessica was Artistic Director of the Finsborough Theatre, since when she's been New Writing Co-ordinator for the BBC.

This event is FREE to members of the Writers' Guild and £5 for non-members. Attendees are invited to a festive drink in The Mailbox afterwards.

Booking details

Character driven

on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:26. Posted in TV

Christopher Reason on how his family's experience of mental health problems have shaped his life and his writing. The article is based on a speech he gave to the 'Time to Change' Mental Health Conference at the Royal Medical Society.

christopher reason-240I've been invited to share my experiences of 'writing about mental health'. But as soon as I started to think about this, I realised that virtually everything I write is about mental health. That's because my work is almost always character centred. Whether it's soap opera – I've been on the EastEnders writing team on and off for nearly 20 years – or any of the adventure stories, political thrillers, comedies, domestic dramas that I've written, I always begin with the character. The reason for which will become plain.

So how do I create a character? My starting off point is: 'We're all nutters but some of us are nuttier than others'. For there's a continuum that stretches from relative mental health (I'm not sure if I've ever met the person who was entirely sane) right through to psychosis, and all of us dwell somewhere on that continuum. Nor is it a static point we occupy. One day we might be feeling fine, then something happens – a bereavement, a separation, an illness - and we find ourselves struggling to cope. How we handle or mishandle this crisis is what teachers of creative writing like to call a character's journey or their arc. A leading character's arc is often congruent with the plot – in many cases it is the plot – so understanding the psychopathology that underlies a person's character has always been crucial to me. Other writers, and I'm not knocking them, take a completely different approach. They think of the big concept – Independence Day or Avatar say - and only then create the characters that will fit into it. One approach is not better than the other, they're just different.

So why do I take this character driven, psychology centred approach? That's entirely bound up in my own personal history.

Author visits in schools

on Monday, 28 October 2013 14:36. Posted in Books and Poetry

Helena Pielichaty on a campaign to promote reading for pleasure and the value of authors' visits to schools

In April 2011 the Society of Authors’ Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) held a One Day Conference for its members. During the Q & A session, Annemarie Young voiced her concern that many teacher training colleges did not appear to have much in the way of reading for pleasure on their courses - the little time allotted to reading tended to concentrate on synthetic phonics. If newly trained teachers weren’t getting any advice on reading for pleasure, how could they be expected to encourage their pupils to read widely once they were in the classroom, Annemarie wondered.

Other delegates agreed, adding that it wasn’t just new teachers who weren’t aware of the wide range of children’s literature available but many experienced teachers, too. The rigidity of the English National Curriculum was given as one reason for teachers abandoning long-established practices, such as the class reader; Ofsted’s ‘expectations’ were another. I related my anecdote of the teacher who, when I asked why she didn’t have a class reader any more, replied: ‘Can you imagine what Ofsted would say if they caught me reading to my class?’ Caught – as if she were indulging in some deviant act!

After the conference CWIG and the Educational Writers Group (EWG) formed a Campaigns Group to look into this issue. Further research confirmed that within most PGCE courses, reading for pleasure was given a one hour slot, if that, leaving NQTs dependent on their mentors in schools for ideas and inspiration about books. However, a study by Teresa Cremin (2011) highlighted how narrow even established teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature was, with only 10% of those surveyed being able to name 6 poets or 6 illustrators , reiterating what had been said at the One Day Conference.Yet there is some excellent work going on in schools, especially in those with a designated school librarian.

James Miller: Off the Shelf at Blacks

on Friday, 25 October 2013 14:33. Posted in Books and Poetry

sunshinestatecoverThe next event of the Guild's Off the Shelf at Black's event features James Miller who explores extraordinary themes in his writing.

Born in London in 1976 and educated in Oxford and London, Miller is author of the acclaimed novels Lost Boys (Little, Brown 2008) and Sunshine State (Little, Brown 2010). He is currently finishing his third. He has a PhD in African-American literature and civil rights and is particularly interested in experimental and avant-garde literature, critical theory, contemporary American literature, Modernism, the Beat Generation and any work that plays with notions of genre.

Miller’s short stories have been published in various anthologies and he has spoken at numerous festivals, including the Edinburgh Book Festival, Wilderness Festival, Berlin’s Hebbel-Am-Ufer theatre, the Tottenham/ Palestine literature festival, the Festival of Ideas and the Athens Megaron.

If any Guild members would like to present their own 10-minute reading after lunch, please email Jan Woolf.

James Miller: Off the Shelf at Blacks
11am-4pm, 18 November Blacks,
67 Dean Street, Soho, London
Price: £30 (includes coffee and a two-course lunch with wine)
More information and bookings: Jan Woolf: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tribute to Bryan Forbes

on Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:30. Posted in General

By Olivia Hetreed, President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain

King Rat film posterI recently had the privilege of attending the Bryan Forbes Tribute put on by the National Youth Theatre, of which Bryan was, for many years, the enthusiastic President.

Bryan was writer and director of such films as King Rat, Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Whistle Down the Wind.

Through a series of recollections from family, friends and colleagues, punctuated by performances by present NYT members and illustrated by lovely photographs of Bryan on film sets and with his family, we were treated to a wonderful overview of a life lived generously and tirelessly in pursuit of the best work, enabling the brightest talent to shine and in a spirit of tremendous love and generosity.

From the opening, entirely unprintable anecdote to Nanette Newman's on-the-brink-of-tears final words, it was a funny, outrageous, touching and very appropriate memorial to a great man of British film and theatre.

Forbes was treasurer of the Guild in its formative years and in 1962 he won the Guild's Best British Comedy Screenplay Award for Only Two Can Play.

In 1969 Bryan Forbes became managing director of Associated British Productions, at that time the biggest name in the UK film industry. He was sent hundreds of scripts. He welcomed every contribution and then "asked everybody to believe that every single submission would be considered." Those writers who showed promise he directed to the Guild and he was clear that he wanted to make Elstree a Guild studio.

In his memory the family have set up a bursary for directors at the NYT.