Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Davidson’

Watch: All About Agents

13th October 2021

On 7th October 2021, WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson moderated an online seminar ’All About Agents’, in which three UK-based literary agents discussed securing representation, how agents can help your career and how the relationship between a writer and their agent works in practice.

WGI would like to thank the BAI for supporting the event and Peter MacFarlane, Kelly Knatchbull and Giles Smart for their participation.

You can watch the recording:

Letter from the Chair re Basic Income for Artists

7th July 2021

As you all will know, today 7th July is the last day to apply (or reapply) for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for members whose business has effectively ceased due to the pandemic. Although the scheme is closing, we know that for many members, things are far from back to normal. While some sectors have reopened, we know that for others, a return to regular work is still a long way off. It’s clear that the pandemic has exposed the inequalities and instabilities of working as a writer. You may recall that last year, the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce report Life Worth Living made ten recommendations for our sector. Crucially, those recommendations included a proposal to pilot a basic income scheme for a three-year period in the arts, culture, audiovisual and live performance and events sectors. We were pleased to see the taskforce was of the view that a pilot basic income would keep the sector intact, minimising the loss of skills and contributing to its gradual regrowth, with ongoing benefits: social and economic, local and national. It’s difficult to overstate the impact a basic income scheme could have for writers and our ability to create new work, and it’s clear why artists and arts workers have been chosen as the pilot group. It is worth pointing out that while artists and arts workers have been chosen as the pilot group, if successful this has the potential to become a full Universal Basic Income scheme for all Irish citizens.

Since this was announced last year, we have written to the Minister to ensure that the voice of writers is heard as the plans for a pilot basic income scheme advance. Board Member Michele Manahan has been instrumental in driving our agenda on future supports for our members, and has also met with the National Campaign For the Arts, who have been a key voice in pushing for change in the sector. In correspondence from the Minister’s Department, we have received confirmation that as part of the National Economic Recovery Plan launched on 1st June, the Minister has recently established an Oversight Committee for the appraisal of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce Recommendations, including the Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for artists. The Oversight Group held its first meeting on 27th May and is being chaired by the Department joined by representatives of the Departments of Finance, Social Protection, Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Public Expenditure and Reform as well as Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The Directors of the Arts Council and Screen Ireland are also members as well as a representative of the County and City Managers Association. This Oversight Group is to prioritise the examination of the way a Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for artists can be delivered. The Oversight Committee is expected to report to the Minister by the end of July. According to the Department, it is too early to be definitive about the exact nature of the pilot scheme, including the cost. However, the Minister hopes to be able to offer more definitive information once the Oversight Group reports to her in July.

We will continue to lobby Minister Martin on your behalf, and once there are further developments, we will keep you updated. In the meantime, we hope that you are managing to keep working (and getting paid for it). As always, if there is anything we can do to help, please do let us know.

Jennifer Davidson
WGI Chair

Equality, She Wrote

3rd March 2021

The Writers Guild of Ireland invites you to join us online on 8th March @ 12pm for a special webinar to celebrate International Women’s Day. Discussing their careers and their experiences as female writers with WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson will be Ursula Rani Sarma and Miriam Devitt. Dr Susan Liddy, Chair of WGI’s Equality Action Committee, will also join the panel to discuss the work being done to bring us closer to gender equality. As well as discussing their own careers, and their advice on how to navigate industry as a woman, the panel also will talk about their aspirations for the industry post the 50:50 by 2020 campaign and where the debate around equality and inclusion needs to go next.

This WGI Webinar is part of a series of webinars supported by Screen Skills Ireland through their Stakeholder Funding Scheme. WGI gratefully acknowledge the support of SSI for this event.

Register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Panellist Details


Photo Credit – Ste Murray

Miriam Devitt graduated from IADT with a First Class Masters in Screenwriting having won the Warner Bros Scholarship. Miriam has written and produced short films BarryRunning Commentary and The Space in Between, which she also co-directed. She was a regular writer and presenter for RTÉjr with such programmes as Pic-a-story, Shhh… Itʼs Quiet Time, and Storytime. She also wrote and presented the radio documentary The Last Picture Show for Raidio Corca Baiscinn. She is currently in development writing six-part TV crime drama Trace (Wildfire Films, with Screen Ireland funding) and dark comedy feature Dead Wrong (John Kelleher Media with the support of Sources 2/Creative Europe MEDIA). Miriam has been nominated for the Aer Lingus Discovery Award 2021 with Dublin International Film Festival.


Photo Credit – Helen Warner

Ursula Rani Sarma is an award-winning writer of Irish and Indian descent. She grew up in West Clare and is a graduate of University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin. She began writing, directing and producing plays while still a student. Since then she has written for The Abbey Theatre, The National Theatre London, the American Conservatory Theatre SF, Ambassador Theatre Group UK, Traverse Theatre, Paines Plough, BBC Radio and RTÉ Radio amongst many others. She began writing for the screen in 2010 with Raw (RTÉ) and since then has worked on other Irish series Red Rock and Smother. She was lead writer and Executive Producer on Series 3 of Delicious for Sky One in 2019 after joining the team and writing episode 3 for Series 2. Her award-winning short films include Robot and ScarecrowAnywhere But HereImpact, Gloria and Prodigal.

Ursula is currently writing numerous projects for the Abbey Theatre, the BBC, Channel 4, Film 4 and RTÉ, amongst others. Some of these include developing The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters for Tiger Aspect/BBC (6×60″) and All That Remains for Dancing Ledge/BBC (6 x 60″). She is adapting the Sci Fi horror novel Outpost for Carnival Films and developing musical drama Something Happened at Lilipoint with 42. For film Ursula is adapting Erotic Stories by Punjabi Widows for Scottfree/Film4 and the true story of Ramla Ali, In the Shadows, for Sleeper Films/Film4. She is also adapting the novel The Survival Game into a feature for Blazing Griffin. Ursula ran the MA in Scriptwriting at Bath Spa University for ten years and continues to feed into the education of emerging scriptwriters whenever possible.


Dr. Susan Liddy is chair of the WGI Equality Action Committee. She is also chair of WFT Ireland and a board member of Women in Film and Television International and Raising Films Ireland. She lectures in the Department of Media and Communication Studies in MIC, University of Limerick.

Susan’s work includes Women in the Irish Film Industry: Stories and Storytellers (ed. 2020) and Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power (ed. 2020). She is currently co-authoring two industry reports: for the BAI and Raising Films Ireland. Her co-edited collection Media Work, Mothers and Motherhood: Negotiating the International Audio Visual Industry will be published by Routledge in April 2021. She is currently working on a collection about ageing women in the international screen industries.

Susan is the founder and co-director of Catalyst International Film Festival, Limerick – a festival that prioritises films from underrepresented groups, in front of and behind the camera.


Photo Credit – Alecia Hoyt

Currently writing for Ireland’s national soap opera, Fair City, Jennifer is an experienced screenwriter with a background in documentary production and development. She has a high-end TV series in development with Port Pictures and has originated a number of other TV series pitches and pilots which are currently available. Her work tends towards relationship drama and intergenerational conflict, and as a writer from North Mayo, with a strong west of Ireland flavour. Her short film Waiting For Tom was named Best Short Film at the London Irish Film Festival in 2015, while another short which she also directed, A Single Woman’s Guide To Life, was awarded a festival prize at the Chicago Irish Film Festival in 2016. In 2015, she attended the prestigious European TV Drama Lab in Berlin. In 2016 she was awarded Film Mayo’s inaugural Tyrone Guthrie Centre Bursary. Having served as the Guild’s Deputy Chair, she was elected Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland in September 2020. Jennifer also sits on the Equality Action Committee and the Board of Raising Films (Ireland).

WGI Chair, Jennifer Davidson, Welcomes Burn Bright Partnership

11th November 2020

I am delighted to announce that we have partnered with Burn Bright to add a fantastic group of Irish mentors to their Time Bank roster this week. Burn Bright was born out of a situation in which two women’s work was erased, in a theatrical landscape which lacks equality, and where plays written by women are rarely seen on big stages. They are a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to change that, aiming to level the playing field wherever possible – creating a network and opportunities to build writers up, lobbying for change, and calling out inequality and bad practice where they see it.

Earlier this year, in our first lockdown, I signed up for some advisory sessions, and was immediately struck by how beneficial and necessary this initiative was. I was keen to see how we could extend the initiative to support Irish female writers.

Time Bank is being updated weekly with new free advisory sessions from industry leaders, available to any writers who identify as a woman, with over 150 sessions offered so far. Time Bank offers writers the chance to connect one-on-one with industry professionals willing to offer mentorship, feedback and advice on a variety of topics affecting playwrights. It is an invaluable opportunity to ask questions and engage with people from all aspects of the industry, with directors, writers, coaches and publicists at your disposal.

Jennifer Davidson, Chair WGI

A Note from the Chair of WGI on Budget 2021

14th October 2020

We welcome the additional funding for Screen Ireland, the Arts Council, the BAI’s Sound & Vision Fund and TG4, as outlined in yesterday’s budget. These funding increases are vital to our sector in this challenging year, and we are glad to note Minister Catherine Martin’s statement that the Government has ‘kept faith with our artists and creative communities upon whom we rely so much to sustain us through the greatest challenge of our generation.’

We are also pleased to see that self employed people can remain on the PUP and take some limited short term contracts, though given the uncertainty around further lockdowns we’re disappointed not to see a restoration to the full rate.

We hope that as much as possible, these additional funds are spent on creating new content, and resourcing our members to do the same. We will continue to lobby the Department, Screen Ireland, the Arts Council, and the broadcasters on our members’ behalf.

Jennifer Davidson

WGI Chair

Read the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s press release here.