Drama prize adds new dimension to literary awards

The James Tait Black Prizes, Britain’s oldest literary awards, are being extended to include a new category for drama.

The prize for the best original new play written in English, Scots or Gaelic will be organised by the University in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland.

Judges will award the accolade to a play which displays an original voice in theatre and one that they feel has made a significant and unique contribution to the art form.

The prize is open to any new work by playwrights from any country, and at any stage in their career.

The judges will be students and staff of the University’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland.


Watch a video report on the launch of the new James Tait Black Prize for Drama.

Recognising original drama

To qualify a play must have been originally written in English, Scots or Gaelic, and been first produced in 2011 or 2012, and performed by a professional company.

The National Theatre of Scotland will perform the winning play as a public reading during the August festivals in Edinburgh.

The first winner of the £10,000 annual award will be announced in August 2013.

I am delighted that the University is working with the National Theatre of Scotland to create this new James Tait Black Prize for Drama. The James Tait Black Prizes have a very long history of celebrating the work of great novelists and biographers and it is wonderful that we can now extend this to recognise original and innovative drama.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal, The University of Edinburgh

The James Tait Black Prizes

Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Prizes are the Britain’s oldest literary awards and one of the world’s most prestigious. Past winners include DH Lawrence, Graham Greene and Ian McEwan.

This is the first time the prizes have been extended to dramatic work.

We are very pleased to be forging a long term partnership with the University of Edinburgh and to be involved in the inauguration of the James Tait Black Award for Drama, with its close associations to the prestigious literary prizes. It is an honour to create a new award for playwrights and we look forward to rewarding truly original voices in world theatre for years to come.

George Aza-SelingerLiterary Manager, National Theatre of Scotland

Related Links

James Tait Black Awards

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

National Theatre of Scotland

Postgraduate Study - Writing for Theatre and Performance

250th Anniversary of English Literature