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Winner of Sir Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting Award announced

12 November 2020

Hannah Westall
Hannah Westall. Credit: H Webb

A Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies graduate has been awarded the 2020 Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award by the International Emmys.

Hannah Westall (BA Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies 2016) was awarded the prize for her Script, Mind The Gap.

The competition, awarded each year by The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, offers recognition to novice writers under the age of 30. The winner receives $2,500.

Hannah tells us: “Mind the Gap is about the aftermath of a young, interracial couple being found dead in South London. It looks at how the communities of the two teenagers are caught up in a war of blame and mistrust as they try to establish what happened.

“I really wanted to explore the gulfs in understanding that exist between different communities in the UK. The two main characters are female, as it was important for me to create complex, interesting female leads and examine the bonds between women.

“With my writing I hope to create stories and characters that make people feel less alone. I want to help in telling diverse, challenging narratives that tackle topics that I have a personal experience of; topics like the honest portrayal of mental health problems and the pressures of womanhood and feminism.”

Hannah started writing in 2015 when she became Deputy Head of Comedy at the Cardiff University Television Station, CUTV.

After graduating, Hannah moved on to the London College of Communication to complete a master’s degree in Screenwriting.

Speaking of her experience at Cardiff University, she said: “During my time at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, I studied a number of television-focused modules, taught by Dr Ross Garner, which really helped to develop my understanding of the TV industry in the UK, as well as my confidence. This is when I started to consider screenwriting as a career choice.

“In my third year, our final project was to write a treatment for a television series. I submitted one for a comedy-drama called ‘Queens of Broken’, which went on to be the script that secured my place on my master’s degree.”

Director of Undergraduate Studies at the School, Dr John Jewell said of Hannah’s win: “The Sir Peter Ustinov award is an excellent recognition of young writing talent, and we are delighted that Hannah has been recognised by the International Emmys.

“Here at the School we aim to equip our students with the knowledge and experience they will need to succeed beyond university, and are always proud to see our students putting this to good use.”

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