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Janice Okoh scoops Bruntwood Prize

17th November 2011

Janice Okoh has won the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting for the script Three Birds, which will now be adapted into a full-length theatrical production.

Okoh also picks up a GBP 16,000 prize for the victory, after beating off competition from fellow shortlisted candidates Alistair McDowall, Gareth Farr and Louise Monaghan, who will each receive secondary judges' awards of GBP 8,000.

Three Birds, which is about three young siblings who are left home alone, was described as having 'humanity and imagination' by playwright Simon Stephens, chair of the judging panel.

Okoh, who worked as a legal assistant for seven years before turning her back on the City, has written three plays for BBC Radio 4 and also teaches English as a foreign language.

'I decided I wasn't happy in law, even though I loved the life. I was doing writing courses and got into this radio thing, and from there I got into theatre and thought "I could write a play",' she told the BBC.

Stephens said the strength of the shortlist is indicative of the UK's playwriting talent and called for both the government and businesses to continue supporting the sector. 

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