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Winsome Pinnock

Winsome Pinnock is one of Britain’s best-known black female playwrights and the first Black British woman to have a play put on at the National Theatre. She was born to Jamaican parents in 1961 in Islington, London. She studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths (University of London) and obtained an MA in Modern Literature in English form Birkbeck (University of London). She also holds a Certificate in Novel Writing from the University of London.

She has written plays for the stage, television and radio. She has written an episode for the series South of the Border (1988) and Chalkface (1991) and her stage plays include The Wind of Change (1987), Leave Taking (1988), Picture Palace (1988), A Hero’s Welcome (1989), A Rock in Water (1989), Talking in Tongues (1991), Mules (1996), Can You Keep a Secret? (1999), Water (2000), One Under (2005), IDP (2006), Unzipped (2009), and Taken (2010). Her plays have been produced by BBC Radio and Television, The Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Clean Break Theatre, and The Royal National Theatre. In 2015, her play Clean Trade was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, who also aired her adaptation of Jean Rhys’s short story “Let Them Call it Jazz” in 1997.

She has received various awards (including Unity Theatre Trust Award, George Devine Award, Thames Television Award, and Pearson Plays on Stage Award for Best Play of the Year) and was recipient of a Junior Judith E. Wilson fellowship at Cambridge University. She has been writer-in-residence at Royal Court Theatre, Royal National Theatre, Clean Break Theatre Company, Holloway Prison, and Tricycle Theatre. She has also been Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Great Britain, chair of the Alfred Fagon Award Selection committee (2010-2012), teaching staff and board member of Royal Court Theatre and script editor at BBC Television Cardiff. In 2014 she served as a judge on the 24th International Radio Playwriting Competition organised by the BBC World Service and British Council in 2014. She has been Visiting Lecturer (Script Writing) at Royal Holloway College (University of London), Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University College and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at London Metropolitan University. Currently she lectures at Kingston University London.


Abram, Nicola. “Looking Back: Winsome Pinnock’s Politics of Representation.” Modern and Contemporary Black British Theatre, edited by Mary Brewer et. al., Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Aston, Elaine. ‘Feminist Connections to a Multicultural “Scene”’. Feminist Views on the English Stage: Women Playwrights, 1990-2000. Cambridge UP, 2003, p. 125.

Böke, Elif. A Black Feminist Reading: Rukhsana Ahmad’s Song for a Sanctuary, Meera Syal’s My Sister-Wife, Winsome Pinnock’s A Hero’s Welcome and Trish Cooke’s Running Dream. VDM Verlag, 2010. pp.

“Breaking Down the Door.” Theatre in a Cool Climate. Edited by Vera Gottlieb and Colin Chambers. Amber Lane, 1999. pp. 27-38.

Buonanno, Giovanna. Black British Women’s Theatre in the 1980s and the Politics of Representation.” Stages of Embodiment in Postcolonial Theatre, special issue of Textus: English Studies in Italy, vol. 30, no. 2, 2017, pp. 67-82.

Cersovsky, Eva-Maria. “The Search for Identity in Black British Women’s Drama: An Analysis of Jackie Kay’s Chiaroscuro and Winsome Pinnock’s Talking in Tongues.” Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies, vol. 45, 2013.

Glaap, Albert-Reiner. “Speaking in Vastly Different Voices: Transcultural Communication in Winsome Pinnock’s Plays.” Across the Lines: Intertextuality and Transcultural Communication in the New Literatures in English. Ed. Wolfgang Kloos. Rodopi, 1998.

Goddard, Lynette. “West Indies vs England in Winsome Pinnock’s Migration Narratives.” Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 14, no. 4, 2004,pp. 23-33.

—. “Winsome Pinnock’s Migration Narratives.” Staging Black Feminisms: Identity, Politics, Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Griffin, Gabrielle. Contemporary Black and Asian Women Playwrights in Britain. Cambridge UP, 2003.

—. “The Remains of the British Empire: The Plays of Winsome Pinnock.” A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880–2005, edited by Mary Luckhurst. Blackwell, 2006.

—. “Theatres of Difference: The Politics of ‘Redistribution’ and ‘Recognition’ in the Plays of Contemporary Black and Asian Women Playwrights in Britain.” Feminist Review, vol. 84 2006, pp. 10-28.

Peacock, D Keith. “So People Know We’re Here: Black Theatre in Britain.” Thatcher’s Theatre: British Theatre and Drama in the Eighties. Greenwood, 1999,p. 179.

Pinnock, Winsome. “The Alfred Fagon Awards: The Best of Black British Playwriting?.” The Guardian, 14 Dec. 2010.

“Playwright Explores Experience of Women Behind Bars.” Kingston University, 19 Nov. 2010.

Reitz, Bernhard. “Discovering an Identity Which Has Been Squashed: Intercultural and Intracultural Confrontations in the Plays of Winsome Pinnock and Ayub Khan-Din.” European Journal of English Studies, vol.7, no.1, 2003, pp. 39-54.

Sakellaridou, Elizabeth.”‘Alternatives to Silence: Winsome Pinnock’s Talking in Tongues.” Daughters of Restlessness, edited by Sabine Coelsch-Foisner et al. Edwin Mellen, 1998.

—. “Old Wine in a New Bottle or Vice Versa? Winsome Pinnock’s Interstitial Poetics.” Contemporary British Theatre: Breaking New Ground, edited by Vicky Angelaki, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Stahl, Heiko. “’There ain’t no black in the Union Jack’ vs ‘England is de place for me’: Black Women Playwrights in Britain in the 1990s.” British Drama of the 1990s, edited by Bernhard Reitz and Mark Berninger. Anglistik & Englischunterricht, vol.64, 2002, pp. 79-94.

Stephenson, Heidi and Natasha Langridge. Rage and Reason: Women Playwrights on Playwriting. Methuen, 1997. p. 45.

Image source: BBC