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James Tait Black prize awarded to Gordon Dahlquist for sci-fi play

Gordon Dahlquist, winner of this year's James Tait Black prize for drama. Photo: Jane Barlow Gordon Dahlquist, winner of this year's James Tait Black prize for drama. Photo: Jane Barlow
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A science-fiction play by American writer Gordon Dahlquist has won this year’s James Tait Black prize for drama, beating competition from Rona Munro and Nick Payne.

His play, Tomorrow Come Today, portrays a future when the super-rich can switch bodies to younger, healthier ones, allowing them to live for hundreds of years.

Dahlquist beat Munro’s historical trilogy The James Plays and neuroscience thriller Incognito by Payne to win the £10,000 prize.

Speaking at the award ceremony at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, when extracts from the three plays were performed, Dahlquist revealed he was inspired by the way a very few extremely rich individuals can stop even the “most tiny incremental action” on climate change.

He said his play was “an attempt to find a metaphor for the huge disparity and the lack of basic consideration from one class to almost everybody else”.

Now in its third year, the James Tait Black prize for drama is judged by postgraduate students and academics from the University of Edinburgh, which runs the award. They whittled 180 scripts down to a shortlist of 10, which were then read by representatives of the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland and the Traverse Theatre.

The prize is for the best new play in English, Scots or Gaelic, which “demonstrates an original theatrical voice and makes a significant contribution to the art form”.

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