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Writers shortlisted for Nick Darke Award

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 26, 2012

Nick Darke, Cornwall's greatest playwright, who died in 2005

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Eight writers from across the UK have been shortlisted for a £6,000 prize in memory of Cornwall's greatest playwright.

The Nick Darke Award, which rewards writing for stage, screen and radio, was set up following the Porthcothan dramatist's death in 2005. Author of some 24 plays, including The King Of Prussia, The Riot and Never Say Rabbit In A Boat, Nick Darke's work was staged by the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court, as well as Cornwall's own Kneehigh Theatre.

Although writing in many forms, Nick earned his living in the world of theatre, screen and radio, and the award is intended to contribute financially to the life of a writer in one of these disciplines. This year's entrants were asked to submit work on an environmental theme in recognition of Nick's lifelong commitment to this issue.

Funded by the Media, Performance and Writing programmes at University College Falmouth, the prize was doubled to £6,000 this year.

Nick's widow, Jane Darke, who originally conceived the idea for an annual award in his name, said: "It is wonderful that University College Falmouth has decided to double the prize money and what's really exciting is that it has been opened up internationally – meaning it will be reaching the best writers, whether they're established or new."

The eight shortlisted writers are Fiona Mackie from Hampshire, Sarah Hehir from Kent, Tony Clare from Cheshire, Kieran Lynn from Liverpool, Andrea Montgomery from Belfast and Francis Turnly, Polly Wiseman and David Bottomley from London.

This year's award judges were BBC Radio 4 commissioning editor Jeremy Howe, award-winning documentary director Molly Dineen, TV and film director Roger Michell, National Theatre associate director Sebastian Born, playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall, and Exeter University drama professor Peter Thomson.

The winner will be announced on October 6.

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