Imison Award 2023: shortlist announced

The award, sponsored by ALCS, recognises the best radio script from a newcomer to the field.

We’re delighted to share the shortlist for the Imison Award 2023. The winner will be announced at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on 19 March and receive a prize of £3,000.

The prize was established in 1994 in memory of Richard Imison, a BBC script editor and producer, to acknowledge the encouragement, support and friendship he gave to writers. Previous winners include Faebian Averies, Fraser Ayres, Vicky Foster, Lulu Raczka, Adam Usden, Mike Bartlett, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Lee Hall and Nell Leyshon.


The Making of A Monster by Connor Allen

Produced by Emma Harding, BBC Audio Drama Wales, 43’46”, BBC Radio 4 | Listen here

Connor is a bright, mixed-race Newport teenager, but his life is in danger of spiralling out of control, fuelled by his confusion and despair over who he is and why his father is largely absent from his life. Autobiographical drama about second chances, written and performed by Welsh Children’s Laureate, Connor Allen.

The judges said: ‘The Making of a Monster is a well-shaped play with an important message. It is inventive, heartfelt and bold.  We thought it was believable and painted the scene well and overall was both compelling and moving especially as it’s not something we get to hear much about at all.’

Connor Allen is the current Children’s Laureate of Wales and associate artist of The Riverfront in Newport. Former member of the BBC Wales Welsh Voices and Welsh Royal Court writing groups. He has written for Wales Millennium Centre, BBC Radio 4 and more. He was a Jerwood Live Work Fund recipient and won the Rising Star Wales Award 2021.


The A-Z of Things: M is for Mussels by Lara Barbier

Produced by Becky Ripley, BBC, 30’ BBC Radio 3 | Listen here

Margo is pregnant and she can’t stop eating mussels. The hard shells are shaped like blue-black tears, gifted from mother to daughter. They speak of sorrow. They speak of the sea…

The judges said: “M is for Mussels is beautifully structured, tender, funny, unexpected and vulnerable. It has many great moments, and we liked the poetry of it alongside the internal dialogue. The whole thing was very atmospheric.

Lara Barbier is a Cornwall-based screenwriter working across TV, Film, Radio and Video Games. She is currently part of Channel 4 TV Drama New Writers Scheme West & South West, developing an original TV drama with Red Planet Pictures and a feature film script for Standoff Pictures backed by Film Cymru.


Knock of the Ban Sithe by Kenny Boyle

Produced by Bruce Young, BBC Audio Drama Scotland, 44’, BBC Radio 4 | Listen here

A contemporary ghost story based on Gaelic folklore. Three siblings return to the family croft on the Isle of Lewis to visit their dying mother – but their childhood home is haunted by unsettling memories and fears as they wait through the night for the arrival of the dreaded Ban-Sithe.

The judges said: ‘We loved the use of Gaelic and use of language. It’s an atmospheric ghost story with some good moments. We liked its ambition and the interweaving of family, memory, folklore and language.

Lewis born writer and actor Kenny Boyle trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is best known as the lead in feature film Lost At Christmas and for his novel The Tick And the Tock of The Crocodile Clock. In 2020 he was the recipient of a New Playwrights’ Award for Playwrights’ Studio Scotland.