By British Council

29 January 2021 - 10:30

The winner of the competition in the "English as a Second Language" category, Ainur Karim, shared a story about her creative path, dreams and how the news of the victory has impacted on her.

When I received a letter telling me I had won the competition from Toby Swift, Director of the BBC Radio Drama Department, I really didn’t know what to do. The news came in at night on 5 November and my family were all fast asleep. I will never forget the feeling – I desperately wanted to share my joy with everyone, but I had to wait six more hours to wait until the morning” commented Ainur.

Ainur admits that she doubted she would ever win as she knew that usually about 1,000 to 1,500 plays from all over the world are submitted to the competition.

But at the same time, I believed in my success, and I immediately wanted to participate, although at that time I did not have a suitable play. I decided to write a new one especially for the competition. So, I had to study the instructions on the BBC website as well as listen to a couple of other plays. And still I was not sure about my feeling of the radio space - the heroes cannot physically go on the stage, leave it, roll their eyes etc... While working on the play, I often caught myself writing as if it was for the stage, and then remind myself that I had to return to the space of sounds. Everything in the competition attracted me – and the prestige of the BBC, and the prize itself; the international audience; the competitors; the fact that my English will be out to use; and perhaps that I will possibly be able to contact people for my future projects. Having read that numerous plays from all over the world are submitted to the competition, I started to doubt my chances. At the same time I believed in my success”, - the playwright adds.

Ainur Karim has been writing plays for three years. Her work has won various competitions. She has participated in readings and some of her writing has been published. There were also some proposals for possible future productions. But so far nothing has been agreed

The BBC London production will be the first real performance of my play. This is valuable recognition for me as a new playwright. After all, it is usually believed that you cannot earn a lot from plays. And as for the main benefits, they are probably still ahead – a trip to London (if the pandemic will not scupper those plans), an attendance at the recording of my play for the BBC and work with a well-known play director in the UK. I will also receive my first royalties for the play (before that I was paid only for screenplays). So, I hope there will be many good impressions”, - says Ainur.

But the most interesting thing is that Ainur came to drama from jurisprudence. She admits that her main work has brought her to different parts of the world and provided inspiration for her hobby of writing.

I remember that I started to think about writing as a profession in 2016. I started publishing in various Internet portals. I tried travel blogging and as an author of dialogues for TV shows. In 2018 I wrote my first play "What’s up the Fifth B?" - a comedy, where the action takes place in the virtual space of a WhatsApp chat shared between parents of 5th grade students. The play won the playwright competition in Kazakhstan, as well as the Lithodrama competition in Russia and Badenweiler-2020 in Germany. In 2019, I wrote "The Flying Job" play - about the fate of three friends who, after the collapse of the USSR, had to quit their prestigious jobs and become shuttle traders. The play got into the final selection of the competition and in the longlist of the Lyubimovka-2019 competition (Russia). After that competition the play was published in Contemporary Drama, a Russian magazine. In 2020 I wrote “The Passport” especially for the BBC competition. The comedy is about a lost document that in the most unexpected way brings together several different people. So far I am writing in the comedy genre, but in the future I hope to write something more serious”, - says Ainur.

Every year the British Council together with the BBC World Service, organises an international radio drama competition, which offers a unique opportunity for playwrights to have their radio plays heard around the world by millions of listeners of the BBC World Service.