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Playwright and poet Sarah Hehir, from Rochester, Kent, along with published author Mark Wallington and first-time writer Simon Topping, have been announced as the winners of the first BBC Writer’s Prize.
The judges Jeremy Howe (Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Drama), Caroline Raphael (Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Comedy and Radio 4 Extra), Kate Rowland (BBC Creative Director of New Writing), Roy Williams (writer) and Miles Jupp (writer-performer) were impressed by the overall range and calibre of the drama scripts submitted for the competition, with Howe commenting “Sarah Hehir charts the developing relationship between a young offender in a Kentish detention centre and his teacher. It is tough, warm, beautifully observed and written from the inside with real heart. It pulls you into the worlds of the two central characters in such a way that makes you really care for them both, and takes us on a surprising journey.”
Talking about the award Sarah said “It really does feel like a dream come true! All those lonely hours writing late at night, wondering if I’m ever going to make people feel the way I want them to when they read a play – it feels so good to realise I got it right with this one. Hope I can write another now!”.
The Writer’s Prize was established to create a unique opportunity for new and established writers who want to write for Radio Drama and Radio Comedy. Over 1,200 original scripts were submitted to BBC writersroom, before the judges were handed a shortlist of 18 from which to reach a decision.