Genesis Almeida writer Ava Pickett wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

12 March 2024

The finalists for the 2024 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize stood and sat in front of a colourful bookcase, smiling at the camera.

Credit: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Instagram

Genesis Almeida writer Ava Pickett has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a prestigious playwriting award for women+ playwrights.

Ava won with 1536, the play she wrote during the 2021/22 Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays Programme. There were 10 plays shortlisted for the award, chosen from more than 200 submissions. The judges praised Ava for her characters who “speak across the centuries” in a play with “sparkling dialogue and thrilling, charismatic writing underpinned by great craft and restraint”. Ava’s win was announced yesterday at a ceremony held at the Royal Court Theatre.

Ava said: “[The Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays programme] has been fantastic, and quite vital to me. They’ve been so supportive. The thing that’s so brilliant about that particular programme is they do commission you; they pay you to write a play. That means that you’re able to dedicate time to it. They read every draft and they’re able to give you a reading of it.”

The Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays programme is an an initiative that supports emerging and mid-career writers to develop new plays for larger stages. The aim of the programme is to provide a springboard for writers to expand the scale, scope and ambition of their work and to create plays of wide cultural resonance.

Read more about Ava’s win in The Stage and The Guardian.

Find out more about the Genesis Almeida programme.