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Michaela Coel awarded the Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship

AWARDED: Michaela Coel (Photo credit: Suki Chanda)

AWARD-WINNING screenwriter, playwright, actress and poet Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) receives the 2017 Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4.

The Fellowship carries an award of £30,000 together with a year-long tailored experience including unparalleled access to some of the most exciting scientific and humanities research in the world.

Selected from over 100 names nominated by the film and television industries, the award is made in recognition of Coel’s remarkable screenwriting talent and distinctive approach to exploring the human condition.

Speaking on the fellowship, Michaela Coel said: "This Fellowship couldn’t have come at a better time. Whilst retaining my individual identity as a writer, my next project will take me on a journey of discovery about brain chemistry, cognitive error, and memory, by the end of which I will undoubtedly have learned to create stories in ways that are currently foreign to me.

"Here at Wellcome I’ll be able to talk to experts about the diagnosis of personality disorders, cognitive patterns, how they’re formed and myriad other things. I’m very grateful to have been chosen for this year, and can’t wait to get going."

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, commented: "We’re delighted that Michaela Coel has accepted this year’s Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship – this is the start of an exciting new journey which will allow her to dive deeper into the world of science and explore what it really means to be human.

"Coel joins Sally Wainwright, Carol Morley, Jonathan Glazer and Clio Barnard, who have each found unique ways to approach the challenges and joys of the Fellowship. This award has developed in ever more surprising and imaginative ways over the years and it is a delight to be able to see the legacies of it in the work that has been produced by these dynamic writers."

Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship is celebrated as a major annual award, which explores the intersection between screenwriting and science.

The intention of the Fellowship is to give a screenwriter time and space to explore without the constraints of a specific project. In doing this, the partners hope to make the Fellowship’s influence profound and long-lived, and hopefully inspire films for years to come.

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