The 2020 shortlist for the £3,000 Imison Award revealed

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
Awarding the best original script by a writer new to radio, this year’s shortlistees for the 2020 Imison Award include rapper and beatboxer Testament, South African author Colette Victor and poet and pub singer Vicky Foster.


The prize of £3,000, generously sponsored by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, will be presented as part of the BBC Audio Drama Awards on Sunday 2 February 2020. The award is presented annually and honours the best original script broadcast in the UK between 1 October 2018 and 31 October 2019.

The judges, part of the SoA’s Scriptwriters Group, including Stefan Buczacki, Jamila Gavin, Nell Leyshon, David Morley, Barney Norris, Hannah Silva, Sean Grundy and Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, are delighted to announce the following three shortlisted writers:

BATHWATER by Vicky Foster

Produced by Sue Roberts, BBC Radio Drama, 44’, BBC Radio 4

Click here to listen (not currently available)

The judges said: ‘It was mesmerising. Incredibly powerful, gripping and a well-written piece that handles domestic violence in an unconventional way. Bathwater is thoughtful and explores inherited trauma well and has beautiful moments. It has great use of the medium and lovely use of language with some memorable phrases. The writing sucks you in, the characters are strong, and it is an intriguing, arresting piece of poetic drama, that explores the way trouble is passed on. It puts an isolated, overlooked world on the airwaves and it does so in a way that makes you really feel for the people it documents.’

Vicky Foster is a poet and pub singer from Hull. Her poetry collection, Changing Tides, is published by King’s England Press. She is the host of Women of Words, which is an event for female performers of poetry, prose, drama, and song.

BY GOD’S MERCY by Colette Victor

Produced by David Hunter, BBC World Service, 53’

Click here to listen (not currently available)

The judges said: ‘Impressive, beautiful, quality writing and a real nugget. This is a well written piece and Colette Victor is one to watch. By God’s Mercy is highly original, clever, ingenious, powerful, and timely. It has good dialogue that paints the scenes well.’

Colette Victor is a South African author who immigrated to Belgium in 2001. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the UK Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition. Head over Heart went on to be published by Chicken House the following year. Her adult novel, What to Do With Lobsters in a Place Like Klippiesfontein, was one of the runners-up in the 2013 Dundee International Book Prize. Both books are translated into German. Colette has always worked with people from disadvantaged communities.

Photo © Kristen Bakas

THE BEATBOXER by Testament

Produced by Gary Brown, BBC Radio 4, 44’

Click here to listen (not currently available)

The judges said: ‘An interesting depiction of the world of beatboxing. The Beatboxer is original and witty.’

Testament is a rapper, beatboxer and theatre maker based in West Yorkshire. He is a supported artist of The Royal Exchange Theatre. His credits include performances on BBC, MTV, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1txra. He also holds the Guinness World Record for leading the world’s largest Human Beatbox ensemble. Testament won the BBC Urban Music Talent Award in 2007 and has since worked with a diverse range of artists from Corinne Bailey Rae and Soweto Kinch to US legend, DJ KoolHerc. Theatre credits include: Black Men Walking, Eclipse & Manchester Royal Exchange.

Photo © Hilly Fletcher

About the Imison Award

The Imison Award is administered by the SoA and was founded in memory of BBC script editor and producer Richard Imison. Previous winners include Lulu Raczka, Adam Usden, Mike Bartlett, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Lee Hall and Nell Leyshon. We would like to thank all producers who have entered the awards and look forward to next year’s submissions. Click to find out more

With thanks to the Peggy Ramsay Foundation for its support.

The Peggy Ramsay Foundation seeks to perpetuate Peggy Ramsay’s ideals, by directly helping dramatists at very different stages of experience in ways which it is determined to keep as quick and unbureaucratic as possible.

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