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Penguin launches The Big Break competition


In September 2009 Penguin Books and The National Theatre Discover Programme launched The Big Break young scriptwriting competition.

Young people nationwide aged 13 to 18 are invited to read award-winning author Meg Rosoff’s debut novel How I Live Now and take the story, themes and characters as a starting point to create a treatment and the first scene of a script.

Five winners will be invited to spend a day at the National Theatre Studio working with professional writers, National Theatre directors and actors to workshop and develop their scripts. They will also see a performance of Nation, based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, opening at the National Theatre in November 2009.

The judging panel consists of author Meg Rosoff, playwright Mark Ravenhill, associate director (literary) of the National Theatre Sebastian Born, associate director of the National Theatre Discover Programme Anthony Banks and editor of Penguin’s teen online book community Danielle Innes.

The competition will live on Penguin’s teen book website Spinebreakers and the National Theatre’s Discover website. There will be multi-media resources available to young people on both websites which give tools and advice on how to adapt a book for the stage, alternative ways for laying out a script and what the National Theatre and Penguin are looking for in successful submissions.

On Spinebreakers teens have the opportunity to discuss, debate and interact with a rich source of publishing from contemporary titles such as Nick Hornby’s Slam to classics such as J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Kerouac’s On the Road.

Meg Rosoff’s debut novel How I Live Now (published by Penguin, 2004) won the Guardian and Branford Boase Awards and was short-listed for the Orange Prize for New Fiction as well as the Whitbread.


Notes to editors
The Big Break competition launched on 1 September 2009 and closes 30 October 2009. The winners will be announced on 27 November 2009 and the winners’ day will take place at the National Theatre on 12 December 2009.

About Penguin
Penguin was established in 1935, is one of the world’s leading consumer publishing businesses and is part of Pearson plc, the international media company with market leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing. Penguin publishing comprises the Allen Lane, Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Penguin, Penguin Classics, Puffin and Viking imprints.

For further information, please contact:
Adele Minchin
Penguin Group UK
80 Strand
020 7010 3072


 How I Live Now
 teen book
 National Theatre Discover

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