The winner of this year’s annual writing prize has been confirmed.
Igor Memic has won this year’s the Papatango New Writing Prize for his debut full length play Old Bridge, selected from 1,504 entries. The other nominees who were shortlisted for the prize included Jon Bradfield for Animal – from a story by Jon Bradfield and Josh Hepple; Julia Grogan for Playfight; Sarah Connors for Pushing on Open Doors, and Beru Tessema for Exile in North Weezy.
The winning play Old Bridge is set to be performed for the first time at the Bush Theatre as part of a new collaboration between Papatango and the theatre.
Old Bridge is influenced by Memic’s Bosnian heritage and explores the true story of what befell Mostar, his hometown, during the Yugoslavian civil war.
The prize was judged anonymously with this year’s winner jointly selected by Papatango and the Bush Theatre. The Papatango New Writing Prize was the UK’s first opportunity guaranteeing a new writer a full production, publication by Nick Hern Books, a royalty of 10% of the gross box office, and a £6,500 commission with full developmental support for a follow-up play.
Talking about the news, Igor Memic said: “When the phone call came, I was in disbelief. I never thought a play like this could make the shortlist, let alone win. Writing Old Bridge has been one of the most painful and important experiences of my life. This was my excavation. My attempt at healing old wounds. I never realised how much it said about our world today until that world stopped spinning.”
Old Bridge will now be developed with Papatango, ahead of a production at Bush Theatre, with dates to be announced. The Prize previously played for five years from 2015 at Southwark Playhouse, with these world premières receiving 16 nominations for Off West End Awards including Best New Play and Most Promising Playwright.