The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, produced by Ellie Keel and Paines Plough, today announces the 20 shortlisted scripts for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2023, selected from 1,002 entries. Launched in 2019, the Prize is designed to celebrate and support exceptional playwrights who identify as female or non-binary by providing them with a national platform.

In this third year of a prize celebrating the extraordinary talent of female and non-binary playwrights, the standard of work continues to inspire us. It was an enormous pleasure to read plays from such an impressive longlist making it extremely difficult to select just 20. This superb shortlist, a varied power house of wildly visual and epic story telling, is truly thrilling. We continue to feel so proud to have been able to read so many brilliant stories, and to celebrate the depth of writers in the UK. We are so excited to move forward in selecting this year’s finalists.

The shortlist in full is:

  • Birdie by Alison Carr
  • Girl Disappeared by Amy Ng
  • Hello Charlie by Caoimhe Farren
  • Bellringers by Daisy Hall
  • Children of the Night by Danielle Phillips
  • the thing about touch by elle van lil
  • LUMIN by Emma Gibson
  • WISHBONE by Esme Mahoney
  • Pots and Pans and Prayers by Esohe Uwadiae
  • Spooky Action at a Distance by Jess Edwards
  • the invisible by Linda Marshall Griffiths
  • AHEMMAA (QUEENS) by Louisa Hayford
  • Ask Her If She Still Keeps All Her Kings in the Back Row by Martha Watson Allpress
  • BLOOD PLAY by Rachel Mars
  • Jicama by Sandy Foster
  • Intelligence by Sarah Grochala
  • A Good Day Will Come by Sepy Baghaei
  • The Angels Were Worms by Shaan Sahota
  • King Troll (The Fawn) by Sonali Bhattacharyya
  • Cambium Layer by Zoe Cooper

Find out more about the writers and their plays at this link.

The finalist plays will be announced in December. The winner(s) will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 24 January 2024.

The Prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English, and the winning playwright wins £12,000 in respect of an option for Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough to co-produce the winning play. The Prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize, and by commercial theatre producers Fiery Angel. The Founding Sponsor is the leading recruitment agency, PER.

The judges for this year’s Prize, chaired by Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre Indhu Rubasingham, are journalist Samira Ahmed, playwrights April de Angelis and Chris Bush, actor Noma Dumezweni, literary agent Mel Kenyon, journalist and critic Anya Ryan, Head of Play Development at the National Theatre, Nina Steiger, and Guardian Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner.