Sally Wainwright awarded Screenwriting Fellowship

British multi award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright ('Happy Valley', 'Last Tango in Halifax', 'Scott & Bailey') has been awarded the 2016 Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4.

Sally Wainwright
Credit: Camilla Greenwell for Wellcome

The £30,000 fellowship provides a year-long, tailored experience including unparalleled access to some of the most exciting scientific and humanities research in the world.

Selected from over 100 names nominated by the film and television industries, the award was made in recognition of Sally Wainwright's distinct voice and clear commitment to research and authenticity.

Now in its fourth year, the fellowship is a major annual award designed to nurture enquiring minds and unique voices and bring the worlds of film and science closer together.

Previous fellowships have been awarded to Clio Barnard (2013), Jonathan Glazer (2014) and Carol Morley (2015).

This year the fellowship was opened up to individuals working in TV as well as film, in recognition of TV's exceptional quality and the innovative vision of its writers.

Receiving the award, Sally Wainwright said: "It was an unexpected delight and honour to be offered the fellowship. My career has taken me in many directions, so I am curious and excited to see where this opportunity leads me. I cannot think of a better place to research, explore and understand the human condition than Wellcome. I look forward enormously to being inspired by everyone and everything."

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, said: "The fellowship provides a unique opportunity to delve into what it really means to be human and is the start of what we hope is a lifelong exploration into the world of science."

The aim of the fellowship is to give a screenwriter time and space to explore without the constraints of a specific project. The partners hope the fellowship's influence will be profound and long-lived, and inspire films for years to come.

Talking about her experience, 2015 fellow Carol Morley said: "Wellcome has expanded my brain, and my heart – I have discovered so much that speaks so potently about the human condition. Meeting and sharing ideas with archivists, librarians, scientists, and project managers has been incredibly significant, and has had a major impact on the stories and films I am developing.

"The fellowship has been a highlight of my filmmaking years, the most brilliant experience and a total privilege."

There is no obligation on a screenwriter to produce anything at the end of their fellowship, but it has already inspired new film projects.

  • Carol Morley is in the research stage for a film called 'Typist, Artist, Pirate, King' about the undiscovered life of artist Audrey Amiss, whose archive is held in the Wellcome Library.
  • Clio Barnard is now in post-production with her latest film 'Dark River'. It was developed during her fellowship, when she met psychologists and psychiatrists working on traumatic memory.

The fellowship is the start of a long-term relationship with Wellcome, with all fellows offered continued access and support.

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