Woods and Usden triumph at BBC Audio Drama Awards

Woods and Usden triumph at BBC Audio Drama Awards

Society of Authors’ president Philip Pullman has presented Sarah Woods with the Tinniswood Award for "best original audio drama script" and Adam Usden with the Imison Award for "best original script by a writer new to radio" at the BBC’s Audio Drama Awards.

The awards celebrate the best in radio drama. The prize ceremony took place on Sunday (28th January) and was hosted by Tracy-Ann Oberman. During the evening, both Woods and Usden were presented with cheques for £3,000 each.

Woods was declared the winner of the Tinniswood Award for Borderland, a new play based on the experiences of refugees about a near-future in which the United Kingdom is divided by borders.

The dystopia, due to be repeated on BBC Radio 4 on 2nd February (14.15), had the judges "gripped", they said. The panel called it "dark and original" with "Orwellian echoes", praising it for its "inspired perspective on issues of migration and identity". Its plot reverses the current situation to present a scenario in which refugees are desperate to leave the UK.

Writer, comedian and actor John Finnemore was highly commended in the category for Penguin Diplomacy: "a perfectly formed piece of comic dramatic writing". The judges said: "While the play functions as a gentle satire of empire and colonialism, it never loses sight of the humanity of those minions who must service such a grasping cause."

Adam Usden, 29, won the Imison Award for his script, The Book of Yehudit, about a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple brought up in a close-knit community in Manchester. When Naftali refuses to divorce Yehudit leaving her a "chained woman", Yehudit must find within herself a strength she never knew she had.

Due to be repeated on BBC Radio 4 on 7th February (14.15), the judges praised it "a strikingly compelling story" and "a thought-provoking winner". The panel added: "Tightly observed, it offers unique insight whilst adeptly exploring current and universally relevant modern gender politics." 

Usden previously has been commissioned by the World Heritage Society, the National Trust and Specifiq for several promenade plays. He triumphed on a shortlist that also included Jane Wainwright; her shortlisted script Wide Open Spaces will be repeated 31st January, 14:15 on BBC Radio 4.

Sarah Woods, Philip Pullman and Adam Usden