Thursday, 20 February 2014


So, I am a writer. And like every writer, I like to receive the occasional good news. So when my mum sent me a message on Facebook saying “I have some really good news for you”, I started smiling even before I knew what it was about.

Any of you who know me in real life will know about my play. The Play. The one and only play (of mine, obviously – Shakespeare, I believe, has written loads). “The Wall”. This play was written a couple of years ago, it started off as a text slightly too short for any professional purpose (even as a one-act job), but it caught the eye of a wonderful theatre director Daniel Coleman who then helped me to develop it further. Fast forward to 2014, I have now been in possession of a full length theatre script (with my name on it!) for a while and I have periodically been sending it to competitions, submission calls etc. Needless to say, it is my pride and joy, in fact I sometimes feel as if I have three babies and the script is one of them (and on a bad day, the one I’m least likely to give up for adoption). Just joking!

It’s been a funny and mixed bag of responses. Some literary managers have really loved it, and others have found flaws with it, the most frequent objection being that it is too much like the famous “Waiting for Godot”. I must say, apart from the fact that there are three characters, two of whom are dressed in rags, I don’t actually see the similarities. This is a story about a couple who are in political exile and it explores the themes of isolation and ignorance, and what that does to us. It looks into how an oppressed person can become the same as their oppressors, if they start to live a life of isolation and paranoia. I’ve even thrown in a murder, for good measure! It has a very clear and specific political message, and while it is a little bit abstract in places and may broadly fit into the ‘theatre of absurd’ bracket, it really isn’t just a pale shadow of Beckett’s famous play (although that would, essentially, be a compliment!).

The play has had two minor (or major, in my mind!) recent successes. In autumn 2013 it was short-listed by the Bristol Old Vic theatre in their annual Open Session competition, getting inside the top 30. Later on in 2013, it was long-listed in the top 100 for the very very prestigious and important Bruntwood Prize (for this one, we opened a bottle of nice wine in the evening and I slept in with a hangover the next day).
But the news, the news my mum had for me, was fantastic! I had recently sent the play to an important competition in my own home country of Serbia (the play was originally written in Serbian, so that made it easier!). Sterijino Pozorje, founded in 1956 and still one of the most important theatre institutions in the whole of Serbia (and Serbia is - perhaps surprisingly for a small, poor former Eastern-block country - a rather fertile thespian ground) was running a competition for best new drama and the results were out. Oh, the results! Well, I didn’t win (again). But I did get into the shortlist of top 5! (Or top 6, including the winner). In fact, my play was one of the 5 they recommended for publication and production. If you can by some chance read Serbian, you can read all about it here:

Just before you say, “okay, so you’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride”, let me just make something clear: I love writing. I love writing so much that I write late at night, after the children have gone to bed and Sacha has finished waking up for the 100th time and all the chores have been done and the new day is just around the corner and I know I will be tired and exhausted when it comes, I love writing so much that my head is always swimming with ideas and plots and 8-point arcs and resolutions and reversals, and in fact, if I didn’t write, I might just go a little bit mad (well, a little bit madder than I already am, you’ll agree). So to hear that a panel of judges, respected professional judges who hopefully know what they’re talking about, thought that my play was worthy of more than just using for scrap paper – well, that’s worth all the tiredness in the world.

(Here are the two little people on their way to bed so mummy can get down to some work :-) )

So here we are. Yes, I totally agree, always a bridesmaid and never a bride. And yet, and yet, you should never say never….Next time, some other lucky runners up might be celebrating their own little slice of the good news cake, and the winner might be me! You never know! Anything could happen! I promise you I will have one mighty hangover, if that happens. And while I’m waiting, I’m writing new stuff.

If you are also a writer for the theatre and want to submit your work to some new submission calls (particularly if you live in the South West, like I do), follow the links below. Mind the deadline however – some are as early as 1st March. Better get writing!

Thanks for reading.






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