Tinniswood Award 2023 shortlist

Oliver Emanuel, Katie Hims, Linda Marshall Griffiths and Anita Sullivan are the shortlisted writers for this year’s Tinniswood Award, which is organised by WGGB and The Society of Authors to recognise the best audio drama script of the year
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We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the annual Tinniswood Award, established by WGGB and the Society of Authors to perpetuate the memory of Peter Tinniswood as well as to celebrate and encourage high standards in radio drama.

The Tinniswood Award is presented at the BBC Audio Drama Awards which this year celebrates the centenary of audio/radio drama at the corporation. This unique genre began in February 1923 and, for 100 years, audio drama and comedy have provided enjoyment, diversion, illumination, insight and escape for listeners, evolving in approach and style as audio practitioners have responded to new ideas with ingenuity, imagination and inspiration.

The Tinniswood Award judges this year were Vickie Donoghue, Nicholas McInerny and Natalie Mitchell.

A prize of £3,000 is generously sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and will be presented at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on 19 March 2023.

Tinniswood Award 2023 shortlist

Oliver EmanuelA Close Approximation of You by Oliver Emanuel

Directed by Kirsty Williams, 57’, BBC Radio 4

 Michael’s love of mirrors isn’t narcissism. A theoretical physicist, his job is to explore the possibility that there is a mirror version of our world somewhere. His girlfriend, Kay, is a photographer. Whilst in Greenland Kay gets a call. Michael’s been killed in a road accident. When the police give her Michael’s possessions, they include a woman’s compact mirror. It’s not something Kay recognises. There’s some kind of code etched on it. Who did it belong to? What was her relationship to Michael? What does it all mean?

The judges said: “This was a wonderful genre mash-up of a play – part psychological thriller, part meditation on memory, part drama of ideas – but always a tender and moving love story. It is also a story that could only be told on radio – a thrilling example of how the form still offers hugely exciting possibilities.”

Oliver Emanuel is an award-winning playwright based in Scotland. He has written extensively for audio over the past 15 years. Credits include: The Tenderness of Boys, When the Pips Stop, The Truth About Hawaii and A History of Paper. Awards include: Tinniswood Award 2019; Best Series at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2019; Best Adaptation at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2016. Oliver founded the MLitt in Playwriting & Screenwriting at the University of St Andrews with Zinnie Harris.

Listen to A Close Approximation of You here

Photo: Matt Writtle

Katie HimsWaterloo Station by Katie Hims

Directed by Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama London, 44′, BBC Radio 4

Two strangers look back on an incident on a train a couple of years ago, just before Covid turned the world upside down. As they do so, they take stock of what’s happened over the last two years.

The judges said: “This was a beautifully written two hander. Witty yet moving and deeply affecting in its simplicity – which highlights the talent and craft of the writer. A real snapshot of the collective experience and collective grief so many of us went through during the pandemic.”

 Katie Hims is a prolific, multi-award-winning audio dramatist with an impressive body of work including numerous original dramas and adaptations. Original dramas include Black Eyed Girls (winner of a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Original Drama), Lost Property (winner of a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Original Drama) and The Gunshot Wedding (winner of a Writers’ Guild Best Radio Drama Award). Dramatisations include Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Country Girls, Middlemarch and The Martin Beck Killings (from the seminal Swedish detective series). She was lead writer on Radio 4’s award-winning First World War series Home Front. Recent theatre includes Variations for National Theatre Connections; Three Minutes After Midnight for the Globe Theatre and The Stranger on the Bridge at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory.  Her new stage play The Trial of Josie K opens at the Unicorn Theatre later this month.

Listen to Waterloo Station here

Linda Marshall GriffithsStrings by Linda Marshall Griffiths

Directed by Nadia Molinari, BBC Audio Drama North, 89′, BBC Radio 3

The Longyears spacecraft, with its five-person crew, is on a mission to launch into the future by entering interconnected cosmic strings. Once in the time dilation they will await a wave-beacon from NASA that will indicate the moment to return to a future ravaged Earth where the doomsday vault that they carry on board can be utilised and re-introduced to save the human race. However, as the ship enters the cosmic strings and is propelled into a time dilation, time itself begins to complicate.

The judges said: “This was an ambitious play exploring huge themes and ideas, forcing us to think about our future and the outlook for our planet. The use of sound and the minimal quality of the language created an eerie piece that wore its genre lightly and felt frighteningly plausible.”

Linda Marshall Griffiths is a multi-award winning radio and stage writer. She has written numerous original dramas for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3 including the award-winning This Changeling Self, The Sky is Wider, The Invisible and Orpheus and Eurydice, and three podcast series of the climate change piece, No Place But the Water. She has dramatised novels by Virginia Woolf, Henry James, DH Lawrence, John Irving and has an upcoming dramatisation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in 2023. Her theatre work has won a Pearson Playwriting Bursary and been a Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Yale Drama Series and MEN Best New Play.

Listen to Strings here.

Anita SullivanEnd of Transmission by Anita Sullivan

Produced by Karen Rose, Executive Producer Rosalynd Ward, Sweet Talk Productions, 57′, BBC Radio 4

Today is Jude’s 50th birthday. She has lived with HIV for over 20 years and has unresolved questions. Only the virus knows the answers. The virus takes her on a transmission journey skipping across continents, centuries, decades and diverse hosts to meet the person who gave her HIV.

The judges said: “This script was the definitive story about this subject for radio. The writer cleverly uses the form to be adventurous in their storytelling, taking us across eras, continents, and bodies as they weave personal, informative, and true stories together to give multiple perspectives. A beautiful and moving script that is also brave and bold in its uniqueness.”

Anita Sullivan is an award-winning audio dramatist. Anita’s first play Full Blown was shortlisted for an Imison Award and became a successful stage play. She has since had over 60 scripts broadcast or staged; her adaptation of An Angel at My Table won Best Series at the BBC Audio Drama Awards in 2013. She is also a digital storyteller, creating interactive narratives for VR and gamified worlds.

Listen to End of Transmission here.


THE TINNISWOOD AWARD was established by Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Society of Authors to perpetuate the memory of Peter Tinniswood (left) as well as to celebrate and encourage high standards in radio drama. Previous winners include the late Sonya Hale, Christopher Douglas, Ian Martin, Sarah Woods, Oliver Emanuel, Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett, and Colin Teevan. Find out more.

We are very grateful to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) for their generous sponsorship, including the £3,000 prize.

The 2023 award is for a drama broadcast or made available online in the UK between 1 October 2021 and 31 October 2022.