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Writer Ben Kaye bags major gong
DORSET writer Ben Kaye’s latest opera has won an award during a ceremony held at the House of Commons.
Ben has overcome personal tragedy in recent years to start writing again and is now seeing returns for his determination after winning the prize alongside other top writers and journalists in London.
The 44-year-old was presented with the Best Film or Stage Production alongside Caroline Clegg, the writer and the composer of their opera Anya17.
Ben, who grew up in Swanage and now lives in Hazelbury Bryan, wrote the story and lyrics for the opera and said he was overjoyed at receiving the award from the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow and Peter Bone MP.
He said: “I had absolutely no idea that I could possibly win.
“I was happy enough just to be shortlisted and be in such prestigious company. When the Speaker read out my name and asked me to step forward I was literally speechless.”
Ben and his family had to endure the death of baby son Luke five years ago.
He managed to start writing again and is a copywriter by trade, though he needed to work in a cardboard box factory while he wrote the new opera.
Ben worked with charities and other non-governmental organisations to research Anya17, the intertwined stories of four women propelled into deceit and prostitution by human traffickers. During his research Ben learned an estimated 700,000 women and girls are caught up in trafficking in Europe each year. His show premiered in March in Liverpool with The Royal Philharmonic Ensemble.
The production is now destined for London, Germany and Romania.
The award was presented at the Human Trafficking Foundation Media Awards.
Ben added: “It is very gratifying because it took a huge amount of research and a lot of hard work with hardly any funding.
“I was working in an open air cardboard box factory for £30 per day and going out to my car and using my phone doing research and writing last winter.
“It makes it all the more special because it has been an extraordinary journey.”