Radio Contest Puts Dramatic Writing Students on the Airwaves


Jake Quan

NYU TIsch have partnered with HarperAudio for a full-length radio drama script writing contest for both current NYU students and alumni.

Yeho Hwang, Staff Writer

An exciting opportunity to create a professional radio drama is underway for students in the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Dec. 14, 2015 marked the start of HarperAudio’s new radio drama contest in partnership with Goldberg. HarperAudio is a branch of HarperCollins which publishes unabridged audiobook recordings.

Radio drama has been a popular means of listening to stories since the 1920s. Although the popularity of the medium in the United States declined after the rise of television, radio dramas have experienced a revival via podcasts and satellite radio broadcasts.

Undergraduates, graduate students and alumni who graduated no earlier than 2013 can submit their pieces to the NYU Radio Play Contest via email by March 1. Submissions will be judged based on narrative quality and writing style, among other criteria.

“This is the first year of the contest,” Ana Maria Allessi, Vice President of Digital Innovation and Publisher at HarperAudio, wrote in an email. “The mission is to discover new talent and create a first-class recording of the winning work.”

The contest is geared toward dramatic writing students due to Allessi’s belief in these students’ writing proficiency.

“This type of writing should be a natural extension of their current work,” Allessi wrote.

Curtis Fox, arts professor and chairman of Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, said that the dramatic writing program always looks for opportunities for its students to produce their work.

“Getting your first production is always a huge hurdle for anybody who is trying to write any form of drama,” Fox said. “I was certainly not going to turn down a chance for our students to have that kind of exclusive access.”

Fox added that the winner of the contest would gain experience in a professional setting.

“They’ll get very high quality actors who are trained in the medium,” he said. “And with luck it will also be promoted more out in the world.”

According to the terms and conditions of the contest, the grand prize winner will have the opportunity to have his or her piece copyrighted. The winner will also be able to attend the recording sessions and will have rights to film, stage and television productions of his or her work.

There is a monetary component to the prize as well the winner will receive 25 percent of net profits of total digital recordings sold and 10 percent of total CD units sold. HarperCollins has specified in the terms and conditions that it will have exclusive rights to negotiate the distribution of the winning piece.

HarperAudio has been publishing audio recordings ever since the 1950s, and has several bestselling audiobooks under its belt. It has received Grammy Awards and nominations for authors such as Roald Dahl and Jamie Lee Curtis. Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon are among several notable narrators.

Those who are in the dramatic writing program at Tisch and are interested in competing can check the terms and conditions in more detail here. The deadline to submit a script is March 1, and the grand prize winner will be notified by email by April 7.

Email Yeho Hwang at [email protected].