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Samuel Bailey wins 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize

Samuel Bailey. Photo: Zora Kuettner
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Samuel Bailey has won the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize for his play Shook.

The play was selected from a record number of 1,406 submissions for the award, which is now in its 11th year.

Shook, which is set in a young offenders institution, will now be developed for a production at Southwark Playhouse in London, where it will run from October 30 to November 23.

For the first time this year, the production will receive a national tour following its London run.

Bailey will also receive 10% of box office income, publication of the play and a £6,000 commission with developmental support for a follow-up work.

“Winning the Papatango Prize was a huge shock – I entered hoping to get some feedback for my play, so when I got the call to say I was shortlisted I was surprised to say the least. It doesn’t quite feel real,” Bailey said.

He added: “Seeing the brilliant productions Papatango have put on over the past few years makes me incredibly excited to see what we can make together.”

Papatango artistic director George Turvey said: “This year saw a record number of entries to the prize, meaning it continues to receive more annual submissions than any other platform – yet despite this volume, and a truly remarkable shortlist, Shook was the overwhelming choice of our entire reading team.

“Samuel has a distinctive, authentic and original voice, and this is a story that demands to be told. We are delighted to be able to share it with audiences across the country in the prize’s biggest ever incarnation.”

The winner was announced at an event at Shoreditch Town Hall in London on June 19.

Shortlisted writers were also announced, including Emma Anderson for The Lesson, Steven Bloomer for Bricolage, Tabitha Mortiboy for Daffy Grod and the Shaking Lights, and Joel Tan for Love in the Time of the Ancient.

Each of the shortlisted plays received a showcase reading alongside Shook to an industry audience at Shoreditch Town Hall.

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