Where do writers write?

2015 Bruntwood Prize Exhibition - Portraits of British Playwrights by Simon Annand.

By Manchester's Finest | 6 June 2015

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2015 Bruntwood Prize Exhibition – Portraits of British Playwrights by Simon Annand.

Where do writers write?

When Enid Blyton wrote tales of four incredibly polite adventurous children along with one obedient dog you don’t imagine she spun those tales in anything less than a romantic setting.


Even when I think of writers at work I can’t help but envisage Kate Winslet as Austen’s Marion wandering hopelessly up a hill in the rain reciting Shakespeare – hopefully with an expert typist at hand. They should be hopeless romantic melodramatics shouldn’t they?

Simon Annand presents some of Britain’s leading playwrights in their natural habitat. Although some don’t seem so natural and it’s likely it just made for a belting photograph rather than telling the absolute truth of where the writer put pen to paper – you can’t tell me that Johnny Vegas writes in a rowing boat, buoyance mocks that fantasy from the word go.

Shame on me – it isn’t just about where they write but where the writer finds inspiration – that handsome looking lake inspired Johnny Vegas to write ‘Being Johnny Vegas’.

The exhibition includes new portraits of Tom Stoppard at The National Theatre, Roy Williams at his kitchen table and Olivier Award-winner Bola Agbaje peering over the streets of London where she finds her inspiration.

Simon Annand has been photographing for over 30 years and is heavily involved in theatre capturing production and rehearsal photographs, posters and headshots and has even published a book with Faber & Faber titled The Half – that shows actors preparing for the stage 30 minutes prior to the performance.

Annand’s involvement in the Arts gives the rest of us a thrilling insight into life behind the scenes and doesn’t disappoint in his latest project capturing playwrights before pen goes to paper.
One portrait captures playwright, comedian and actress Meera Syal gazing into a mirror as she admits that inspiration could come at any moment.

‘I spend a lot of time in my dressing room thinking things through and, often that’s when the best ideas come to me.’ she says.

It’s a small but beautiful exhibit – each image tells a fascinating story, that aspiring writers and photographers alike would find completely inspiring.