Abi Morgan, OBE (born 1968) is a Welsh playwright and screenwriter known for her works for television, such as Sex Traffic and The Hour, and the films Brick Lane, The Iron Lady, Shame and Suffragette.
|Born||1968 (age 50–51)|
|Notable works||Sex Traffic, Brick Lane, The Hour, The Iron Lady, Shame, Suffragette|
Morgan was born in Cardiff, Wales. She is the daughter of actress Pat England and theatre director Gareth Morgan, who was director of the Gulbenkian Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne (now the Northern Stage). Her parents divorced when she was a teenager and her childhood was spent moving around the country while her mother acted in repertory theatre; she told The Scotsman in 2010 that she had attended seven separate schools during her childhood. Her sister is the fundraiser at London's Unicorn Theatre.
After initial ambitions to become an actress herself, she decided to become a writer while reading drama and literature at Exeter University. She then took a postgraduate writing course at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Having dared not to show any of her writing "to anyone for five years", her first professional stage credit was in 1998 with Skinned at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. She has written plays for the Royal Exchange Studio Theatre Manchester, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Court, London. Her 2001 play Tender for the Hampstead Theatre gained her a nomination as "most promising playwright" at the 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards.
Morgan gained her first television writing credit in 1998 on the continuing ITV drama series Peak Practice, following that with a television play My Fragile Heart (2000) and a BBC2 drama Murder in 2002, starring Julie Walters.
She was commissioned to write the single drama Sex Traffic for Channel 4 in 2004, about a teenage girl trafficked from the Balkans to Britain. This drama, directed by David Yates, won the 2005 BAFTA award for Best Drama Serial. She has since written a number of single dramas for television including Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006), White Girl, part of White (2008) and Royal Wedding (2010), which follows the 1981 Royal Wedding through the perspective of events held in a small Welsh mining village. Her television work also includes writing Birdsong, a two-part television adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's novel of the same title.
Morgan wrote the legal drama The Split, about the private and professional lives of divorce lawyers, first shown on BBC1 in April 2018.
Morgan's first continuing drama series was The Hour (2011), set in a BBC newsroom during the 1956 Suez Crisis. It was commissioned for a second series, but cancelled after the second series was transmitted, its ratings having been one quarter lower than the first. In 2013, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special for The Hour, having also been nominated in 2012.
Morgan has also written for cinema: her 2007 adaptation of Monica Ali's novel Brick Lane was critically acclaimed, but created controversy – some Brick Lane Bengalis labelled the film "defamatory" and a planned royal film performance was cancelled. Her next film was The Iron Lady, which starred Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, closely followed by a smaller-budget production, Shame, co-written with Steve McQueen. Her work on The Iron Lady earned her a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay nomination, while her work on Shame earned her a BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film nomination. She has said that she always puts one line from her last film in her next film.
- Skinned (1997)
- Sleeping Around (1998) – co-written with Mark Ravenhill, Stephen Greenhorn and Hilary Fannin
- Fast Food (1999)
- Splendour (2000)
- Tiny Dynamite (2001)
- Tender (2001)
- Monster Mum (2005)
- Fugee (2008)
- Chain Play – Production II – co-written with Neil LaBute, Mike Poulton and Tanya Ronder
- The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn (2009), as part of The Great Game: Afghanistan
- Lovesong (2011)
- 27 (2011)
- The Mistress Contract (2014)
- "Writer Abi Morgan has last laugh at the Emmys". Wales Online. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Aidan Smith, Interview: Abi Morgan, screenwriter, The Scotsman, 4 May 2010.
- Maggie Brown, Abi Morgan: Cometh the hour, The Stage, 15 July 2011.
- Nigel Farndale, Abi Morgan interview, Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2011.
- List of theatrical works, Doollee.com
- "Bafta Film Awards 2012: Nominations". BBC News. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Abi Morgan meets Bola Agbaje | Guru Encounters". BAFTA Guru. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Lewis, Helen. "Abi Morgan on Suffragette: "These were voiceless women. We gave them a voice"". New Statesman.
- "The Mistress Contract at The Royal Court Theatre". The Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 13 September 2013.