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Verity Bargate Award winner announced 2017

The winner of the prestigious new writing award has been announced at Soho Theatre


© Jonny Birch

The winner of this year's Verity Bargate Award has been announced in a ceremony at Soho Theatre.

The winning play is called City Song and is written by Dylan Coburn Gray, an Irish writer based in Dublin. The piece is an ode to Dublin and Dubliners from the perspective of a weary cab driver. City Song blurs the lines between poetry and drama and was applauded by the judges for its innovative use of language.

The piece was chosen from 1064 submissions and the winner will receive £7,000 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the play.

Coburn Gray said: "Winning the Verity Bargate Award feels like an enormous vote of confidence at just the right time. I'm honoured and very giddy. When you're a young writer London is this shiny place you spend a lot of time looking at, so it's exciting to feel like it's looking back."

Judges for this year's Verity Bargate Award were Stephen Garrett, Meera Syal, Graeme Farrow, Emma Rice, Matt Trueman, Jackie Wylie, Neil Murray and Ikenna Obiekwe.

Previous winners of the prize included Sean Buckley, Insook Chappell, Fraser Grace, Bonnie Greer, Vicky Jones and Gillian Plowman.

Nessah Muthy was also announced as the Character 7 Award winner for her play Sucker. The piece imagines a future where women are sterilized as an austerity measure. Muthy said: "The award will enable me to continue to create leading roles for working class women of colour, which is thrilling."

The Character 7 Award offers one writer the opportunity to develop their storytelling for TV drama and the winner is drawn from the Verity Bargate Award longlist. The winner is given a grant and tasked with developing a number of ideas with a view to optioning one of them as a script.

The Tony Craze Award was given to Antlers by Patrick Russell, who is part of this year's Soho Theatre Writers Lab programme. The prize is the renamed Soho Young Writers' Award and is open to the 80 writers on the Soho Theatre Young Company Writers' Lab.

The Verity Bargate Award is open to writers resident in the UK and Ireland with fewer than three professional productions.