USC Libraries Honor Writers of ‘Women Talking,’ ‘Slow Horses’ with 35th-annual Scripter Awards


The writers of the film “Women Talking” and the series “Slow Horses,” as well as the authors of the books from which they originated, received the 35th-annual USC Libraries Scripter Awards at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library on Saturday, March 4.

Scripter recognizes the year’s most accomplished adaptations of the written word for the big screen and episodic series.

Glenn Sonnenberg, who co-founded Scripter in 1988 with Marjorie Lord Volk, served as master of ceremonies. In his opening remarks, Sonnenberg acknowledged that this was the first year the Scripters were presented in person since January 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic upended normal life.

“I’m grateful for the support of the Scripter community, particularly since 2020,” Sonnenberg said. “You remained engaged, committed, and invested during a time of uncertainty and change, and I thank you for staying so connected to our libraries.”

In the episodic series category, novelist Mick Herron and screenwriter Will Smith took home Scripters for the episode “Failure’s Contagious,” from the Apple TV+ series “Slow Horses,” which Smith adapted from Herron’s book of the same name.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be on the short list tonight,” Mick Herron said, “these are some of the best books you’ll ever read, made into some of the best TV you’ll ever see.”

“The only real test for me in fiction is do I believe it,” Will Smith said, “I love it when I read a book and feel the characters have a life before and after, and I always feel that with Mick’s writing.”

In the film category, the winners were screenwriter Sarah Polley and novelist Miriam Toews for “Women Talking.”

“There’s not another person, another writer, another filmmaker, that I would entrust my book to other than Sarah Polley,” Toews said.

Sarah Polley described Toews’s work as “searing, uncompromising, funny, and wise,” commenting that “with this book she offered the world an offramp from grief and rage toward what true democracy might look like.”

Earlier in the evening, James F. Childs, Jr. (’61) received the USC Libraries Ex Libris Award, which honors exceptional and enduring commitment to the libraries. Childs, a Trojan alumnus and community leader, has served on the libraries’ Board of Councilors for three decades, with a term as president from 1990-1995.

Childs thanked his fellow board members for the honor and shared how his association with the libraries began through the Friends of the USC Libraries. “We have much to be proud of,” Childs said, reflecting on the decades since. "The creation of the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, and providing outstanding service to students and faculty during the COVID crisis, just to name a few.”

The program also included a stirring appeal from librarian Christal Young for support of the USC Libraries’ Student Academic Support Program, better known around campus as StudyOn.

The initiative, which Young spearheads, showcases “the Libraries as a welcoming space for students—a place where they can not only locate a quiet place to cram for their finals but also where they can find a vibrant and active hub that fosters a robust educational experience,” she said. “StudyOn supports the whole student, academically, emotionally, and personally.”

In-kind donors included Andrew Murray Vineyards, Bloomsbury Publishing and Penguin Random House.