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An Cailín Ciúin, Lakelands, and Derry Girls among nominations for 2023 WGI Zebbie Awards
29 Sep 2023 : News Desk
An Cailín Ciúin
Shortlisted nominees for the 16th Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) Zebbie Awards have been announced in what has been an exceptionally strong year for Irish writing for theatre, TV, film, and radio.

Scripts by Irish writers have resonated globally this year with nominees Colm Bairéad, writer of An Cailín Ciúin, and Lisa McGee, writer of Derry Girls, responsible for just two of the Irish hits that went global this year. The full list of nominees can be seen below.

The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 17th October at The Sugar Club in Dublin. 

Voting by WGI members to select the winners went live last month on script.ie.
This year’s awards take place against the backdrop of the recently ended Writers Guild of America strike over issues relating to pay, recognition and the use of generative AI.  

The WGI, which campaigns for rights, remuneration, more control of work and better recognition for its members, says the US strike was fighting against practices that are commonplace in Ireland, which result in writers doing more unpaid work, working in isolation, and ultimately not getting a proper share in the success of their work.

It says there is an issue with the invisibility of writers in the industry – where programmes are associated with the director, or the actors, and rarely the writer – though no film or tv series or play can go into production without a script. 

The Zebbie Awards celebrate the best of Irish writing in Theatre, Television Drama, Continuing Drama, Short Film, Feature Film, Radio and Animation. Only WGI members can read the nominated scripts and vote in the awards. 

The exceptionally high standard of Irish writing is reflected throughout this year’s nominations, nowhere more so than in the Best TV Drama Script category where multi-award-winning writers Lisa McGee, Sharon Horgan, and Mark O’Halloran are all nominated.
The Zebbie Awards are named in honour of O.Z. ‘Zebby’ Whitehead, a Broadway and Hollywood actor who was a great supporter of theatre and writing in Ireland after he moved to Dublin in 1963.
Speaking about the Zebbies, Jennifer Davidson, Chair of the Writers Guild of Ireland, said: “As writers, we’re lucky in that we get to do the thing that we love for a living. But making a living out of the thing you love is also a dangerous place to be. Because if you love it, then the perception is often that it’s not really work, and that you don’t actually deserve to get paid or recognised properly for it. Then we see Irish film festivals not mentioning the writers of films that win their awards, producers asking us to waive our rights under the European Copyright Directive, and RTÉ unable to properly fund new Irish drama while spending huge money on ‘talent’ salaries. And in the US, our fellow writers have been on strike since 2nd May because their employers like Disney, Netflix and Amazon are refusing to pay them fairly.”

“At the Writers Guild of Ireland, we are incredibly proud of the work that our members do. It is our privilege to hold the annual Zebbie Awards to recognise and celebrate the best writing for stage, screen and radio across seven categories. This year, more than ever, we want to celebrate the talent of Irish writers and remind everyone of the brilliant creative minds behind your favourite films, plays, radio dramas and tv shows.”
Writer, actor and presenter of the Zebbie Awards Tara Flynn added: "In so many creative media, writers can often be relegated to behind-the-scenes, when the fact is that there wouldn't be any scenes without them. I've always loved being in the audience of the Zebbies, where writers get their moment in the spotlight, celebrated by their peers. So, to be hosting for the second time this year – when visibility and solidarity have never been more important – is an absolute honour."

The 2023 Zebbie Awards Nominees are:

Best TV Drama Script

  • Derry Girls Series 3 – Episode 7 The Agreement – Lisa McGee
  • Bad Sisters Series 1 – Episode 1 The Prick – Sharon Horgan
  • Conversations with Friends – Episode 9 – Mark O’Halloran

Best Feature Film Script

  • An Cailín Ciúin – Colm Bairéad
  • Aisha – Frank Berry
  • Lakelands – Robert Higgins & Patrick McGivney

Best Animation Script

  • Monster Loving Maniacs – Episode 6 Jump Scares – Sian Ní Mhuirí 
  • Best & Bester – Episode 1 The Trivialist Pursuit – Amy Stephenson & Shane Langan
  • Fia's FairiesThe Little Lost Gráinneog – Jody O'Neill

Best Short Film Script

  • Lamb – Sinéad O'Loughlin
  • Lambing – Katie McNeice
  • Wednesday’s Child – Caroline Harvey

Best Radio Drama Script

  • Skewed – Sarah-Jane Scott
  • Morning Coffee – Dermot Bolger
  • Eggistentialism – Joanne Ryan

Best Theatre Script

  • Lie Low – Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
  • Heaven – Eugene O'Brien
  • The Asylum Workshop – Colin Murphy

Best Continuing Drama Script

  • Fair City Series 33 – Episode 31 – Maria Hickey
  • Fair City Series 33 – Episode 106 – Carmel Callan
  • Fair City Series 33 – Episode 108 – Thomas McLaughlin

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