Northern Irish Writer Wins $150,000 International Literary Award:
Newry writer, Abbie Spallen, announced as one of the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize winners

Tinderbox Theatre Company is delighted to announce that Irish playwright, Abbie Spallen, is one of 2016’s recipients of Yale University’s Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes – a major literary award recognising literary achievement and financially nurturing talent.

The prestigious prize has an international reach with Spallen now joining the ranks of previous winners such as award-winning playwright and screenwriter Debbie Tucker Green (Stoning Mary, Truth and Reconciliation) and critically acclaimed Helen Edmundson (Blood and Light, Anna Karenina). Writers of fiction, drama, and nonfiction who write in English from anywhere in the world are eligible.

This prize is also great recognition for Tinderbox Theatre Company, its programming and tireless support of talent in Northern Ireland. In spring 2015, Tinderbox and Belfast’s the MAC co-produced prize winner Abbie Spallen’s Lally the Scut with a cast of 12 leading local actors. The production was the culmination of a 6 year programme dedicated to presenting new writing of the highest quality on the main stages in Northern Ireland.

Abbie Spallen, who lives and works in Newry Co Down said:

I think this is a great thing for the country. I think this is a great thing for new writing and I think this is a great thing for female playwrights. I am very proud that work with its origins here has been recognized at this International level. I am delighted that one of the plays singled out by the judging panel was my most recent, LALLY THE SCUT. It is very important to me that this play had its world premiere with Tinderbox Theatre Company and the MAC in Northern Ireland in front of a Northern Irish audience. I am beyond grateful to Hanna Slattne and Mick Duke at Tinderbox for championing this play and treating it with the utmost grace and respect.

Tinderbox Dramaturg Hanna Slattne, who first read the script and worked with Director Michael Duke on the Tinderbox production said:

Lally the Scutis, without doubt, the strongest script I received on my desk here at Tinderbox. It simply had to be produced here in Northern Ireland. It is fantastic for Abbie Spallen to be recognised in this way internationally. In joining the list of winners of this prize she is firmly established as one of the most exciting playwrights in the English language and we at Tinderbox are very proud to have been part of her journey.

Abbie Spallen has been supported by the Arts Council Northern Ireland through a Major Individual Artist Award and through their funding of venues and companies who has commissioned and produced her work. Further support for the main stage production of Lally The Scut at the MAC came through the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.