The Sarah Awards Launch Essay Series to Advance Genre of Audio Fiction

The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Awards, aka The Sarah Awards, is pleased to announce that it is launching a series of essays about the craft of making radio dramas in the 21st century on its website, "With the boom in podcasting, we are currently experiencing a resurgence of radio drama, a genre that had its heyday in the mid-20th century" says Ann Heppermann, Sarah Lawrence College writing faculty member and The Sarah Awards founder. "However, as this art form has re-emerged, little has been written about creating contemporary radio drama. With these essays, we hope to provide a resource for people making these works as well as add to the discussion of what it means to make radio drama today."

The essays are written by people currently making some of the most innovative radio dramas from around the world. An essay by CBC Love Me creators and former WireTap producers Cristal Duhaime and Mira Burt-Wintonick kicked off the monthly series. In their essay, Duhaime and Burt-Wintonick discuss how radio dramas can "draw from the familiar" in order to create particular sonic landscapes. Upcoming essays include a discussion about adapting short stories for the ear by The Truth host and creator Jonathan Mitchell, an essay on voice acting by actor James Urbaniak, and a conversation with the writers from Issa Rae's fictional podcast, Fruit.

The Panoply Network provided the initial funding to launch the essay series. Panoply's Chief Contest Officer Andy Bowers says, “Audio fiction is already becoming a vital part of the podcasting landscape, and we at Panoply are proud to support innovative writing and diverse perspectives about this newly revitalized art form. Sarah Lawrence College is doing our medium a great service by publishing this essay series.”

The essays build on The Sarah Awards website, which also includes reviews of produced works of audio fiction, and serves as the home for the main annual awards competition in the spring and the Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest now open for submissions.

The Sarah Awards is an initiative of Sarah Lawrence College, a progressive liberal arts college renowned for creative writing and writing across the curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Sarah Awards’ mission is to celebrate and reward the best of contemporary radio drama. “These essays further that mission and expand the educational value of the awards program, as they lend themselves well to the study of the audio fiction genre” says Heppermann.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.