The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has taken the difficult decision to cancel its annual Writers’ Guild Awards, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown.
The red-carpet, gala event was due to take place at the Royal College of Physicians in central London in January 2021, in a special ceremony to mark their 60th anniversary.
Since their inception, at the Dorchester Hotel on 26 April 1961, in an evening billed ‘The Night of the Golden Pens’, the Writers’ Guild Awards have celebrated the cream of British writing across film, TV, theatre, radio, books, comedy and, in later years, videogames.
They have shined the spotlight on the vital work of the union, making headlines along the way. In 1991, for example, author Salman Rushdie made a rare appearance at the height of the fatwa against him. Accompanied by bodyguards, Rushdie astonished guests as he collected the award for his children’s book Haroun and the Sea of Stories, with impassioned words about freedom of speech.
Renowned writers who have taken home gongs in the past six decades include Danny Boyle, Jo Brand, Dawn French, Roddy Doyle, Jennifer Saunders, Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, Russell T. Davies, Kay Mellor, and Heidi Thomas.
High-profile presenters and guests in recent years have included WGGB President Sandi Toksvig OBE, Meera Syal, Caitlin Moran, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Armando Iannucci, Mackenzie Crook, and Rob Delaney.
WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth said: “Our awards happen because of two things: the generous support of our loyal sponsors, and the same collective strength our union is founded on. WGGB members, all working writers, volunteer their time and energy to sit on juries, shortlist entries, and pull endless strings behind the scenes to make the event the glittering success it is every year.
“This year, those same members are working tirelessly to protect writers’ rights in industries which are facing an unprecedented, existential threat. We need to concentrate on this vital work so that we can look forward to coming back with a bang, and much to celebrate, in 2022.”
WGGB is grateful to the support of its sponsors over recent years: lead sponsor Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, BBC, ITV, Company Pictures, Script Angel, Nick Hern Books, and Silver Reel.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is a trade union representing writers for TV, film, theatre, radio, books, comedy, poetry, animation and videogames. It negotiates national agreements on pay and conditions with key industry bodies, including BBC, ITV and Pact; the Royal Court, National Theatre, and Royal Shakespeare Company. It campaigns and lobbies on behalf of writers and offers a wide range of benefits to its members.
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