2020 Prize Announcement


2020 Prize: New Home, Shortlist and Winner

We are delighted to announce that Igor Memic has won the 12th annual Papatango New Writing Prize for his debut full-length play, Old Bridge, from a record 1,504 entries.

The other shortlisted writers are: Jon Bradfield for Animal - from a story by Jon Bradfield and Josh Hepple; Julia Grogan for Playfight; Sarah Connors for Pushing on Open Doors, and Beru Tessema for Exile in North Weezy.

The winning play Old Bridge will be performed for the first time at the Bush Theatre, London – the start of a new partnership for Papatango with the theatre – as part of their reopening season post the Covid-19 pandemic. Influenced by Memic’s Bosnian heritage, Old Bridge explores the true story of what befell Mostar, his hometown, during the Yugoslavian civil war.
This year’s entries were assessed, anonymously, over three reading rounds by a team of 28 readers (68% female-identifying, 21% people of colour) who then voted in an equal and secret ballot, with this year’s winner being jointly selected by Papatango and the Bush Theatre.
OLD BRIDGE By Igor Memic

At Bush Theatre, dates TBC

“One day all you care about is music, fashion, and boys. The next day there’s no food. Piece by piece your world starts to change so you change with it.”

Mostar, 1988. A boy from out of town dives from the famous Old Bridge. A local girl watches, her heart falling with him.

Mostar, 1992. In a town of growing divisions, Muslim Mina and Catholic Mili have never doubted that their future lies together – but nor can they imagine the dangers that future will bring.

This beautiful, heart-wrenching play by British-Bosnian writer Igor Memic conjures up a lost world of innocence and hope. Inspired by true stories, it powerfully exposes the impact of a war that Europe forgot and the bravery, love and sacrifice of those who lived through it.

“When the phone call came, I was in disbelief. I never thought a play like this could make the shortlist, let alone win. Writing Old Bridge has been one of the most painful and important experiences of my life. This was my excavation. My attempt at healing old wounds. I never realised how much it said about our world today until that world stopped spinning.” Igor Memic