Lucy Prebble
by Beth Roberts

Lucy Prebble. Image sourced through Wikimedia Commons

Talented playwright, screenwriter and producer Lucy Prebble is a Haslemere-born creative paragon. This talented Surrey native has worked on several popular and well-awarded plays and TV shows, cementing herself as one of the most talented young British writers for stage and screen.

Prebble was born in Haslemere and she attended Guildford High School in her youth. She says that she “never showed anyone” (BBC Four, 2023) any of her writing until she was at university and Sheffield, but admits that she wrote everything from diary entries, to short stories, to fan fiction. Her strong interest in writing from an early age has paid off.

Starting her writing career with a bang, Prebble won the PMA Most Promising Playwright Award following the release of her short play Liquid (2002). Further success succeeded this early achievement: her first full-length play, The Sugar Syndrome, won the George Devine and TMA awards after being performed at the Royal Court in 2003, earning comparisons to Paula Vogels’ famous play, How I Learned to Drive (1997).

Prebble found further success in theatre with her plays ENRON (2009) and The Effect (2012), before turning her attention to the small screen. A frequent collaborator with former Doctor Who companion, Billie Piper, Prebble set British television alight with Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007-2011) and I Hate Suzie (2020-2022); the two shows focus on the struggles of womanhood, especially relating to sexuality, identity and safety.

Celebrated by critics and scholars alike, Prebble’s playwrighting has been described by Vicky Angelaki as “rightly ambitious, investigative, topical, knowing, funny and large-scale” (2017: 223). Angelaki also notes that Prebble’s most recent play, The Effect, demonstrates how her work could “be poetic, conceptual and tender” (2017: 223). With a glowing list of impressive adjectives used to describe her work, Prebble is known for her determined and earnest projects.

Perhaps her most successful venture yet is the hit HBO show, Succession (Armstrong, 2018-2023). Prebble wrote the episodes ‘Austerlitz’ and ‘Honeymoon States’ and has also produced 38 episodes of the smash hit drama. In 2020, 2022 and 2023, Succession won ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ at the Primetime Emmy Awards, giving Prebble several more awards to add to her illustrious collection.

Making a name for herself across multiple media, Prebble has also tried her hand at video game writing. She was Head Scene Writer for the hit game DESTINY (2014), which won the 2014 BAFTA Award for Best Game. Prebble also writes a Tech column for the Observer, so perhaps she will return to video game writing in the future!

A shining star on Surrey’s map, Lucy Prebble is just one glowing example of Surrey’s rich writing heritage and future. Balancing critical success with multimedia experimentation, Prebble shows us all that talented writers are not limited to genre, form or niche: they can tackle anything.

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