Michaela Coel awarded the prestigious Wellcome screenwriting fellowship

Award-winning screenwriter, playwright, actress and poet Michaela Coel 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.

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.’

Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship is celebrated as a major annual award, which explores the intersection between screenwriting and science. The legacy of the programme is witnessed by the impact upon the work of previous Fellows particularly Sally Wainwright and Clio Barnard.

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. The Fellowship is the start of a long-term relationship with Wellcome, with all fellows enjoying continued access and support.

The Fellowship, awarded by the Fellowship Panel, is chaired by Kate Leys with Lizzie Francke (Senior Development and Production Executive, BFI), Eva Yates (as part of her previous role as Creative Executive, Film4), Meroë Candy (Film and Drama Executive, Wellcome) and Iain Dodgeon (Broadcast, Games and Film Manager, Wellcome).