Shelley Silas


United Kingdom
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Projects credited in

About me

Shelley Silas writes for radio, theatre, tv and books. I was born in Calcutta and grew up in north-west London. Not particularly fond of studying, I left school with three O’levels, and aged seventeen, started work as a dresser at Her Majesty’s Theatre, dressing Glynis Johns in Terrence Rattigan’s Cause Célèbre. I went on to dress Timothy West in Pinter’s The Homecoming at the Garrick Theatre. I then spent three years at Mountview Theatre School. Musicals were my first love, and after getting that elusive equity card, I decided fairly soon, that THAT side of the profession wasn’t for me, though I loved singing and kept up with classes with the fabulous Chuck Mallet. A series of jobs followed, including working in PR for Townsend Thoresen, (I was working for the European end of the business, and was there when the Zeebrugge ferry disaster took place), I found my way to King’s Reach Tower and IPC magazines, working in the fiction department at Woman’s Realm. I had a few short stories published in a variety of magazines, in the UK and abroad, and that was really the start of my writing career. But I kept working full time, until I felt secure as a writer. Other work included working at the Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden, working in TV/Film casting, and for a PR company who promoted ball valves and actuators (yeah, exciting, I know!), and as a motor cycle messenger (Suzuki 125), which lasted one day. My plan to make a fortune on two wheels was short lived. I couldn’t stand the dirt and not being able to wear pretty clothes. And I had an accident, which was the deciding factor, four wheels, for me at least, was always better than two. In my 30s, while working in casting and still working freelance as the fiction editor of CHAT magazine, I went to Birkbeck College, and four hard years later I emerged with a 2:1 (Hons) in English Literature. Immediately afterwards I went to the University of East Anglia, graduating a year later with an MA in Creative Writing. Happy days. Since then – I’ve been writer in residence at The Bush Theatre and Clean Break. My stage plays are Eating Ice Cream on Gaza Beach (NYT/Soho Theatre), Falling (The Bush Theatre, Pearson Writer-in-Residence 2002), Calcutta Kosher (Southwark Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Arcola), Mercy Fine, (Clean Break, Writer-in-Residence 2005), Southwark Playhouse, Birmingham Rep), Shrapnel, BAC. My radio work includes writing series 4 & 5 of Val McDermid's Dead series, Dead Weight was broadcast in 2018. The People Next Door, Mr Jones Goes Driving (with Richard Briers), I am Emma Humphreys (winner of the Clarion Award), The Sound of Silence (short-listed for the Imison Award) Ink, Calcutta Kosher, The Magpie Stories, Collective Fascination, Nothing Happened (with Luke Sorba), Molly’s Story in Celluloid Extras, and adaptations of Hanan Al-Shaykh’s novel Only in London, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Booker winning novel Heat and Dust and (with John Harvey), a nine part dramatisation of Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet. I compiled and edited the short story anthology, 12 Days, published by Virago and have written and performed specially commissioned short stories at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Hexham Book Festival with my partner Stella Duffy. I’ve contributed to a number of anthologies, including Little Black Dress and The Flash. In September 2018 I will be workshopping a new theatre piece at the Unicorn Theatre with director, Sarah Esdaile. A short test script for BBC R&R had visuals created and became a VR short, The Turning Forest, shown at multiple film festivals and winning awards. Google used it to launch their Pixel phone and Day Dream headset. During 2010-2012 I was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Goldsmiths. From 2013-2015 I was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the LSE. My stage plays are published by Oberon Books. An extract from my NYT Play, Eating Ice Cream on Gaza Beach will be published in an anthology by Nick Hern Books in 2018, to celebrate 60 years of the NYT. When I’m not writing, I can be found in a swimming pool, a gym, running, cycling, in a pilates or yoga class or at the beach, preferably with my wife, writer, co-director of Fun Palaces and campaigner, Stella Duffy.

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  • Playwriting
  • Writing

People I’ve worked with

Companies I’ve worked with

  • Innocent


    • Retail
  • ODD


    • Marketing & PR
  • Here Design

    Here Design

    • Design
  • Kyra TV

    Kyra TV

    • Publishing