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How struggling Newry writer behind new TV lockdown drama won $150,000 ... and used some of the cash to set up a thriving jewellery business

Ahead of her short film airing on the BBC next week, Newry's Abbie Spallen tells Claire O'Boyle how a surprise win changed her life - and says Covid-19 crisis has left many artists in dire straits

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Newry playwright Abbie Spallen

Newry playwright Abbie Spallen

Actress Geraldine Hughes on the set during production of a film version of Abbie’s play Pumpgirl in 2008

Actress Geraldine Hughes on the set during production of a film version of Abbie’s play Pumpgirl in 2008

Abbie on the set of her latest drama

Abbie on the set of her latest drama

Newry playwright Abbie Spallen

Finding some form of escapism has been a must for many of us since the lockdown began back in March. Next week, culture lovers across Northern Ireland will have something to look forward to with the screening of six new short dramas on BBC Northern Ireland.

Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama will be aired on Thursday night, with writing, directing and acting contributions from some of the biggest names in the industry, from Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee and Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill to Coronation Street's Kerri Quinn and Olivier Award-winning actor Anthony Boyle.

Newry playwright Abbie Spallen has played her part too, writing the short film Best Wishes, which makes up one of the six pieces.