28 January 2018
This year’s Imison Award has been won by Adam Usden for his ‘strikingly compelling’ radio drama The Book of Yehudit, while Sarah Woods has scooped the Tinniswood Award for her ‘dark and original’ play Borderland.
(Sarah Woods, Philip Pullman and Adam Usden at the BBC Audio Drama Awards. Image: BBC / Guy Levy)
Society of Authors’ President Philip Pullman presented the prizes, each worth £3,000, at this evening’s BBC Audio Drama Awards in London.
The Imison Award is given for the best original script by a writer new to radio, and the Tinniswood Award for the best original audio drama script.
View the shortlist
Winner: THE BOOK OF YEHUDIT by Adam Usden
The judges said: A strikingly compelling story of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple in their close-knit community and the binds that tie them together. Tightly observed, it offers unique insight whilst adeptly exploring current and universally relevant modern gender politics. A thought-provoking winner.
Adam Usden is a 29 year old writer from Manchester. His first play, Steve and Then It Ended, premiered at Theatre 503 and was one of Lyn Gardner’s Tips of the Week. He has been commissioned by the World Heritage Society, the National Trust and Specifiq for several site-specific promenade plays. His latest Afternoon Drama, Sophie’s Lights, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2017.
“I’m absolutely delighted. The only other writing award I’ve won was for coming top in a spelling test when I was seven, so this is a significant upgrade.”
The Book of Yehudit will be repeated on Wednesday 7 February, 14.15 on BBC Radio 4. It was produced by Charlotte Riches, BBC Radio Drama Salford, for BBC Radio 4.
Winner: BORDERLAND by Sarah Woods
The judges said: This was a dark and original dystopia that took an inspired perspective on issues of migration and identity. Set in the near future, the current situation is reversed and refugees are desperate to escape the UK. In their attempt to cross the border and navigate a passage over the Irish Sea, Layla and her daughter are pursued by the chilling forces of state security. This was an absorbing thriller, with Orwellian echoes, that had the judges gripped.
Sarah Woods writes across all media and her work has been produced by many companies including the RSC, Hampstead Theatre and the BBC. For BBC Radio, Sarah has written numerous plays, series, drama-documentaries and dramatized many classics, including Das Kapital by Karl Marx (Vol 1), and is adapting her stage version of Marie Ndiyaye’s French drama Hilda, both to be broadcast this year.
“I’m thrilled with the award – it makes a huge difference to me and enables me to feel I can push for the things I feel are important in drama, as a force for positive change in the world. I know that any additional time to reflect on my work and where it might go next is a luxury.”
Her opera Wake (Birmingham Opera Company) and her stageplay Primary (London Bubble) will both premiere this March. She currently teaches at Manchester University and the Denmark National School for the Performing Arts.
Borderland will be repeated on Friday 2 February, 14.15, on BBC Radio 4. It was directed by James Robinson, BBC Cymru Wales, for Radio 4.
Highly Commended: PENGUIN DIPLOMACY by John Finnemore
The judges said: This is a perfectly formed piece of comic dramatic writing. While the play functions as a gentle satire of empire and colonialism, it never loses sight of the humanity of those minions who must service such a grasping cause.
John Finnemore is an award-winning writer, comedian and actor. He is the sole writer and star of sketch-show John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, now in its seventh series, and wrote and starred in four series of hit sitcom Cabin Pressure.
John was awarded Radio Broadcaster of the Year by the Broadcasting Press Guild in 2016. Penguin Diplomacy was produced by David Tyler, Pozzitive, for BBC Radio 4.
“I am absolutely delighted to receive the commendation, and as a result of it I will be making sure I include at least one penguin in everything I write from now on.”