Actress and screenwriter Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) has been named as the recipient of the 2017 Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4.
Coel receives an award of £30,000 together with access to Wellcome Trust’s world-renowned scientists, labs and research.
Previous recipients of the award are Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright last year, Carol Morley (2015), Jonathan Glazer (2014) and Clio Barnard (2013).
Coel was selected from more than 100 nominees from the film and television industries, and is given the prize to recognise her “remarkable screenwriting talent and distinctive approach to exploring the human condition”.
Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship explores the intersection between screenwriting and science.
Coel, who was also named a Screen Star Of Tomorrow this year, wrote and starred in Chewing Gum, winning a Bafta for her performance in 2016. She has also appeared in Black Mirror, London Spy and the upcoming feature Been So Long.
She 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.”
During last night’s (Nov 22) event to announce the award, Coel further revealed in a video message that one of two upcoming projects she is working on will focus on “race, politics and astrophysics”.
The Fellowship Panel which decides the award 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).