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Irish Playwright Picks Up Top International Award

Playwright Neil Flynn with Nigel Hastings from the BBC judging panel pictured at the international radio playwriting awards last Thursday at Broadcasting House, London. Image: BBC/Tricia Yourkevich

Kerry playwright Neil Flynn, from Tralee, has just been awarded first prize for the 27th International Radio Playwriting Competition at a ceremony at BBC Broadcasting House, in London. Flynn’s winning script titled “The Snowman”, was chosen as the winning entry out of 850 submissions from more than 100 countries worldwide. It is the first time that the international award has been won by an Irish person. The Snowman is a lyrical monologue about an Antarctic explorer's desperate attempts to make it back to base camp.

As part of the award, Flynn’s script is currently in the process of being turned into a dramatic recording that will be broadcast to millions of listeners on BBC World Service in February of next year. Flynn was notified that he had won the competition in 2020, however the award of the prize was suddenly placed on hold due the outbreak of the global pandemic.

“After a long two-year wait caused by the global pandemic, it has been fantastic to finally be able to welcome our winners to the BBC in London to record their plays and celebrate their achievement”, said Toby Swift Executive Editor, BBC Audio Drama, London, “Neil Flynn’s beautifully lyrical monologue has been a joy for our team to work on and we look forward to sharing it with the world in February”.

The International Radio Playwriting Competition is supported by The British Council and welcomes scripts from anyone outside the UK, whether established or new writers. The dramas need to be 53 minutes long and can be on any subject. Flynn, who has been writing plays for over a decade, said he was honored to have won the competition.

"I am absolutely thrilled to have won the competition," he said. The Snowman is inspired by Irish polar explorer Tom Crean’s efforts to save a sick crew member during his first Antarctic expedition and the desperate attempts to make it back to base camp with two colleagues. I can't wait for people to hear the piece on the BBC World Service next year."

The Snowman was selected by an esteemed judging panel, which included award-winning audio drama writer and producer, Patricia Cumper MBE, FRSA, renowned stage and television actor, Nina Sosanya, and development producer, script editor and actor Nigel Hastings. Within the same competition, author Ainur Karim, from Kazakhstan, won first prize for the “English as a second language” category for her play “The Passport”.

The Snowman by Neil Flynn will be broadcast on BBC World Service in February of next year and will be available to download. #TheatrePR

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