This year's Popcorn Writing Award has been given to Karim Khan's two-hander Edinburgh Fringe play, Brown Boys Swim. Running at Edinburgh Fringe through the festival's last day August 28, the coming-of-age tale is about the pressures young Muslim men face today.
The Popcorn Writing Award celebrates new voices and writing, awarding £3,000 to its winner, as well as additional awards to its three shortlisted finalists. Additionally, Popcorn Group partnered this year for the first time with BBC Writersroom. The partnership will offer one-on-one meetings between the longlisted playwrights and the BBC Drama Commissioning team.
Popcorn Group shared in a statement, "Brown Boys Swim is a vital and moving play. It is the epitome of what we look for with the award—we’re overjoyed for Karim!"
A recipient of Riz Ahmed’s Left Handed Films and Pillars Fund inaugural fellowship and an alumnus of the The North Wall’s ArtsLab program, Khan explores systemic racism and the ways it keeps people from being and understanding themselves in the comedic work which also has won a Fringe First Award.
Olivier-winning Fleabag producer Francesca Moody, who served as a judge for this year's award, said in a statement, "Brown Boys Swim is a beautiful and tender piece of writing full of heart. Dynamic and original. A story I’ve never seen on stage and one that I was delighted to read and then watch on stage. I loved it."
READ: 'Buzzing, Bursting, Bold': Why Karim Khan's Brown Boys Swim Hits Close to Home
In addition to Moody, judges for this year's award included Luke Thompson (Bridgerton, Hamlet), portrait artist Jonathan Yeo, comedian Jack Rooke (Big Boys), Lydia Leonard (Ten Percent!, Wolf Hall), BAFTA and two-time Emmy-nominated composer Nainita Desai, director and artist Charlotte Colbert, BIFA-nominated producer Jessica Malik (She Will, Funny Woman), development executive Natalie Denton, and members of the BBC Writersroom team led by Jessica Loveland.
A ceremony celebrating the Popcorn Writing Award winner and finalists will be held at The Gilded Balloon Library Bar August 25 at 12:30 PM.