The winning writers were revealed at a ceremony sponsored by ALCS, where playwright Caryl Churchill was also honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Writing.

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) has announced the winners of the 2018 Writers’ Guild Awards for outstanding achievement in writing for film, television, radio, theatre, comedy, books and videogames. The announcement took place at a ceremony at the College of Physicians in London.  Hosted by writer and actor Vicki Pepperdine, the prestigious event honoured the cream of UK writing talent in front of an audience from a broad range of creative industries.

Innovative and provocative British playwright Caryl Churchill was presented with the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award by playwright Lucy Kirkwood (both pictured, left and right respectively) in honour of her illustrious body of work and career which has spanned over six decades since penning and staging her first play, Downstairs, in 1958.  A writer for both theatre and radio, Churchill has had her work staged in London and New York, including productions at the Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic and National Theatre, and televised for the BBC.  Her works include Ants (1962), Lovesick (1967), The Judge’s Wife (1972), Fen (1983), Three More Sleepless Nights (1980), Serious Money (1987), Mad Forest (1990), The Skriker (1994), Far Away (2000), A Number (2002), A Dream Play (2005), Love and Information (2012) and Ding Dong the Wicked (2013).  In addition, Churchill has seen a number of her works recently re-imagined, alongside new recent works including Here We Go and Escaped Alone, which premiered in 2015 and 2016.

In addition to this recognition for Caryl Churchill, it was a big night for female writers, who won 9 of the 15 awards. The winner of Best Short Form TV Drama was Sarah Phelps for the critically acclaimed The Witness for the Prosecution; Best Radio Drama went to Ming Ho for The Things We Never Said; Sarah Kendall took home the award for Best Radio Comedy for Sarah Kendall: Australian Trilogy ‘A Day In October’; Sheena Kalayil picked up the Best First Novel award for her debut The Bureau of Second Chances; and the winner of the Best Play went to Lucy Kirkwood for The Children, while Sarah McDonald-Hughes scooped the award for Best Play for Young Audiences with How to Be a Kid.

Best Writing in a Video Game was won by Elizabeth Ashman-Rowe together with Tameem Antoniades for dark fantasy action-adventure game Hellblade:  Senua’s Sacrifice; and writer Emily Ballou formed part of the writing team alongside Chips Hardy, Steven Knight, Ben Hervey, who picked up the award for Best Long Form Drama for the highly applauded drama Taboo.

Other winners included the critically acclaimed Inside No. 9 ‘The Bill’, written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, which scooped the Best TV Situation Comedy award;  Best Screenplay was awarded to Miss Sloane by  Jonathan Perera;  Best Long Running TV Series award went to BBC drama Holby City, Series 19, Episode 2 ‘Rocket Man’ written by Peter Mattessi; picking up the award for Best Children’s TV Episode was Tim Bain for Counterfeit Cat: Room of Panic; Babak Anvari was awarded Best First Screenplay for Under the Shadow, while Marek Larwood walked away with the Best Online Comedy award for Showreel for One Word or Less Parts.

During the ceremony, comedian Paul Merton and WGGB Chair Gail Renard paid tribute to Steptoe and Son scriptwriter Alan Simpson OBE and dramatist and novelist Rosemary Anne Sisson, plus other WGGB members who sadly passed away over the past year.

Host Vicki Pepperdine said of the event:

“As a previous Writers’ Guild Award winner I know how much it means to receive one. The knowledge that your peers have considered your work to be the very best in its class is a great accolade, which writers working in any of the broad range of media recognised by the Guild would be proud to receive. It has been a great privilege to be invited to host the Writers’ Guild Awards ceremony this year, when once again we honour some truly inspirational writing talent.”

WGGB President Olivia Hetreed said:

“The range and quality of talent represented this year has been awe-inspiring and our winners are outstanding in their fields. With the always-inventive and challenging playwright Caryl Churchill taking our highest award it’s especially good to see there are plenty of Top Girls writing today (9 female winners over 15 awards). We are hugely grateful to our sponsors, ALCS, the BBC, ITV, Silver Reel, Lionsgate, Company Pictures and Nick Hern Books for helping us to foster the best of British writing, as they all do in their everyday work.”

ALCS is the lead sponsor of the 2018 Writers’ Guild Awards.

Full list of Writers’ Guild Awards 2018 Winners

Outstanding Contribution to Writing
Caryl Churchill

Best Online Comedy
Showreel for One Word or Less Parts by Marek Larwood

Best Long Running TV Series
Holby City, Series 19, Episode 2 ‘Rocket Man’  by Peter Mattessi

Best Writing in a Video Game
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice by Tameem Antoniades and Elizabeth Ashman-Rowe

Best Children’s TV Episode
Counterfeit Cat: Room of Panic by Tim Bain

Best Radio Comedy
Sarah Kendall: Australian TrilogyA Day In October’ by Sarah Kendall

Best Long Form TV Drama
Taboo by Chips Hardy, Steven Knight, Ben Hervey, Emily Ballou

Best First Novel
The Bureau of Second Chances by Sheena Kalayil

Best First Screenplay
Under the Shadow by Babak Anvari

Best Radio Drama
The Things We Never Said by Ming Ho

Best Play for Young Audiences
How to Be a Kid by Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Best Play
The Children by Lucy Kirkwood

Best Screenplay
Miss Sloane by Jonathan Perera

Best TV Situation Comedy
Inside No. 9, ‘The Bill’, by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton

Best Short Form TV Drama
The Witness for the Prosecution by Sarah Phelps

About Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB)

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is a trade union representing writers for TV, film, theatre, radio, books, poetry, comedy, animation and videogames. It negotiates national agreements on pay and conditions with key industry bodies, including BBC, ITV and Pact; the Royal Court, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. It campaigns and lobbies on behalf of writers and offers a range of benefits to its members, including free contract vetting, support and advice; events and discounts; free training; a weekly ebulletin; a pension scheme and welfare fund.  The Writers’ Guild annual red-carpet Awards launched in 1961. See their website.

The Writers’ Guild Awards

The Writers’ Guild Awards 2018 were sponsored by The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) as lead sponsor. Other sponsors were BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide, ITV, Company Pictures, Nick Hern Books, Silver Reel and Lionsgate.  The Writers’ Guild Awards, which launched in 1961, give professional writers from across Great Britain the opportunity to honour their peers, and celebrate the importance of writing to the creative industries, both nationally and abroad. They also recognise the importance of the Guild’s work in preserving freedom of speech. The 2018 Awards eligibility criteria was work broadcast, performed or released between 1 September 2016 and 29 September 2017. Full info about the awards, including a short history plus full archive of previous winners, can be found here.

Pictures © Matt Writtle 2018.