ROYAL COURT – Call for playwrights – Zimbabwe

The Royal Court runs long-term play development projects in many different countries, helping to stimulate new writing and bringing many of these writers and plays to London for further work and sometimes productions. At any one time, the International Department will be working with dozens of playwrights through specific projects. Long-term play development relationships now exist through projects and exchanges with writers from Columbia, Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Uganda, Nigeria, Syria and many more. The British Council has been a key collaborator and supporter of many of the Royal Court International programmes and is delighted to be in a position to extend this work to playwrights from South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Phase One – Elyse Dodgson, Head of International Department, Royal Court will travel to South Africa where the workshop will take place, accompanied by two workshop leaders to conduct a 7 day workshop for a total of 12 Zimbabwean participants. The aim of the workshop is to support each individual participant in writing a new contemporary play. The workshop will be designed for the needs of each writer, explore individual interests, and in the end each writer will be asked to propose an outline of a new idea for a contemporary and original play. The first draft of this play will be submitted three months after the end of the first workshop. The workshop will consist of group and individual sessions and there will also be time for writing.

Phase Two – Once these plays are received, they are read (in their original language by one of our readers/translators if appropriate), who will then make recommendations on how or whether to proceed with each play. The team, predominantly the same (but we try to include a director if possible), travel out to work on the plays individually with the writers and do more group work exploring some common problems. Sometimes at this stage actors are used and workshops and readings done of the plays. This again will last about a week. At the end of this phase, the writers are asked to work on a next draft.

Phase Three – The new drafts are again read, assessed and translated before the team returns for the final phase of development work. This can sometimes involve public rehearsed readings in the countries, either of extracts or of whole plays as well as individual meetings with each writer. Sometimes at this phase we attach the writers to local directors who will help to facilitate the development of the plays. The first three phases usually last between 18 months and two years.



The workshop will take place at Mokoya Lodge South Africa. Accommodation, food and workshop spaces will be provided.


The British Council office in Harare will book and pay your travel as well as pay for visas to get you out to South Africa for the workshop. Please be aware that you will be required to have a valid passport in order to attend the workshop. The British Council will not be in a position to help pay for any costs related to obtaining your passport.


8 March 2013 – disseminate open call
19 April 2013 – application deadline
10 May 2013 – announce participants

26th June 2013 – Fly to Johannesburg, South Africa

27th June – 5th July 2013 – Workshops

6th July – departure from South Africa

There will also be further activities as described in the 3 phases above, by applying you are committing yourself to being involved in the project for up to two years.

A writer’s process – third session

Everyone is requested to think about their writing process. How would you define that process? When you say that you are waiting for a ‘spark’ to ignite the creative juices, do you know what that spark is? How it looks like? Feel like? Taste like? What are you waiting to understand before you can unleash your ink on the page? Is it an imagine of a character? A specific setting? A line? A face?

Whatever it is, do you understand why it is so important to your writing? To your process? Do you want to understand it? Do you want to control it? Take charge? Or at least make an attempt? If yes, I’d like to you to think of a metaphor that would explain the process. How does the metaphor capture the different stages of your writing? How does it communicate that process to someone? Can you give a parallel analysis of how the metaphor not only mirrors but gives a detailed breakdown description of the process? This information should enable me to follow step-by-step instruction of how you work. Is this possible? How detailed can you be? How much can you unlock? I.e. Someone once told me that their writing process is like a kite (metaphor). When they begin a new writing they envision the process to be like building a kite. First you need material; plastic, sticks, string, pins, etc. These in their writing process mirrors research. For instance, you need your grounding data or evidence – sticks hold or provide the basic structure for a kite. So they will look for them first to build the skeleton of a kite. In their writing, this could mean key grounding literature. If you are writing a book about Zombies, what are the basic elements which you must adhere to or establish for your story to hold? Etc… One can go on to explain how the metaphor reveals how and where the writer places themselves in their writing and defines a sense of direction.

If you’ve never did this before, take the challenge and you will see it will start to show you, at the very least, how well you understand or have taken some things for granted in your writing. This process might be spontaneous and mysterious for many but within that there is great room for a writer to
understand the workings behind it. Try new things, learn how to stimulate yourself and your writing. We might not have figured out the secret to teach writing but we know how to enable the process. So take a chance. Write a metaphor you think would best explain your process and post it here. You might be amazed at something small you discover about your writing.

Is this important?
Well, you decide.

Date: 4 March 2013

Venue: The Wits Writing Centre


Commonwealth Book and Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Writers final call for entries:

Last few weeks remaining to enter the new Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The prizes are part of a new initiative, Commonwealth Writers, an online hub to inspire, inform and create a community of writers from all over the world. Together with the prizes, Commonwealth Writers unearths, develops and promotes the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Wednesday 30 November 2011 (5pm GMT)
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

Commonwealth Book Prize: Friday 9 December 2011 (5pm GMT)
Awarded for best first book, the Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction in English) published between 1 January and 31 December 2011. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £10,000.

Enter online at