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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 06:18 GMT
City's 'creative forces' honoured
Beryl Bainbridge
Dame Beryl Bainbridge is set to receive the Freedom of Liverpool
Five of the country's top writers are set to be recognised by their home city by being awarded its highest civic honour - the Freedom of Liverpool.

Councillors are meeting on Wednesday to consider a proposal to award writers Alan Bleasdale, Jimmy McGovern, Carla Lane, Dame Beryl Bainbridge and Willy Russell the accolade.

The move comes as Liverpool moves into the final phase of its bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The city's Lord Mayor Jack Spriggs said: "All five of the writers we are proposing to honour have used their talents to entertain millions of people - to make them laugh and cry.

"They have been a creative force for decades and it is only right that the city should recognise their contribution to cultural life in this country."

Council leader Mike Storey added: "Our bid for European Capital of Culture is based around the creativity that exists within Liverpool and the people we are nominating for this honour demonstrates why we are such strong contenders."

Carla Lane
Carla Lane wrote popular sitcoms, including Bread and The Liver Birds
The move has achieved cross-party support and is expected to be passed unanimously.

Opposition leader Joe Anderson said: "It is great to see people who have put Liverpool on the world map for their writing being honoured."

Alan Bleasdale has written acclaimed series including BAFTA-winning Boys from the Blackstuff and GBH.

Jimmy McGovern was behind the early success of Channel 4 soap Brookside as one of its first scriptwriters. He also penned the internationally acclaimed BBC film Priest, set in Liverpool.

Carla Lane wrote some of the country's most popular sitcoms including The Liver Birds and Bread.

Whiston-born playwright Willy Russell wrote Educating Rita, which was nominated for an Oscar when it was made into a film, as well as Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers.

Beryl Bainbridge began her career as an actress before turning her hand to writing and has been nominated for the Booker Prize five times, including for Master Georgie which follows Liverpudlians in the Crimean War.

The meeting will also recommend that the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside and the Merchant Navy Veterans Association be granted Liverpool's top business accolade - admittance to the Freedom Roll of the Associations and Institutions of the City of Liverpool.




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