Submissions for the Nick Darke award are being accepted by Falmouth University for 2013, with new changes made to encourage further applicants. For the first time this year, the award is screening applicants through a 20 page example of their work, rather than the original 20 page excerpt from the intended application piece. This integral change was made to make writers feel more able to represent their work as a whole.
The first submission stage now involves outlining the idea in the form of a 25 word or less pitch, followed by an outline for the story idea in 750 words, suggesting character, plot and structure. Applicants are asked to also submit 20 pages that represent their writing, either in the form of a new or existing piece.
The award commemorates Cornish writer Nick Darke, who died in 2005 following a battle with cancer, and who contributed greatly to Cornwall’s writing community. Although he wrote in many forms, Nick Darke was most prolific in the world of theatre, screen and radio, through which he earned his living.
It is from his passion for these genres that the award is judged. Applications must be written in the form of a stage play, screenplay or radio play and must have an environmental theme (though this theme can be interpreted in many different ways). This environmental theme commemorates Nick’s passion for this issue.
The award started in 2006 and was conceived by his wife, the artist and filmmaker Jane Darke, and has been presented each year since to contribute financially to the life of a writer. The award is now at £6,000 and is funded by the Departments of Media, Performance and Writing at Falmouth University. The prize is designed to offer a writer the opportunity to focus on their work without financial stress, which is something that most writers struggle with during their careers.
The scripts are passed on to a panel of readers who select eight submissions for the shortlist. The winner is selected from the shortlist by a panel of judges that are internationally recognised for their achievements in writing for film, television, radio and theatre.
2012 winner Kieran Lynn understands how difficult it is to find time to write day-to-day.
Keiran Lynn said, “Almost all of the writers I know have other jobs, so are only able to write after a day job has drained their energy and best efforts. The Nick Darke Award will enable me to dedicate more of my time, more of my energy and more of myself to writing: and I will be grateful of the opportunity for the rest of my career.”
The Nick Darke award offers a unique opportunity for writers to pave their future careers.
Sarah Hehir, one of the shortlisted writers for the 2012 Nick Darke Award, said: “I have had producers agree to read my work on the strength of being shortlisted. In addition to contacts made, being at the award ceremony was a real personal boost to my confidence at this early stage of a writing career. The experience was very useful to me.”
Since being shortlisted for the award, Sarah has been shortlisted for the Writer's Prize, which had an entry number of over 1,200.
About The Judges:
Jeremy Howe, Drama Commissioning Editor for Radio 4, UK
Molly Dineen, BAFTA and Royal Television Society award-winning UK television documentary director, cinematographer and producer
Roger Michell, theatre, television and film director whose work includes the films Notting Hill, Changing Lanes and Morning Glory
Sebastian Born, Associate Director (Literary), National Theatre London, UK
Joe Penhall, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, best known for his play Blue/Orange and his big screen adaptations of novels such as The Road and Enduring Love
Peter Thompson, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and General Editor of the three-volume Cambridge History of British Theatre
Carl Grose, the first winner of the Nick Darke Award, is as well as being a writer, also being a director and an actor. Apart from the acclaimed theatre company Kneehigh, Carl has also written for organisations such as Told By An Idiot, The National Theatre, Soho Theatre and BBC TV and Radio.