Entertainment & Arts

Meryl Streep boost for women screenwriters

Meryl Streep Image copyright AP
Image caption Streep will star in The Suffragette later this year.

Hollywood actress Meryl Streep is championing female authors by funding a screenwriters development programme for women over 40 in the US.

The first Writers Lab will accept submissions between 1 May and 1 June, with the eight winning writers announced on 1 August.

They will then be mentored by the likes of Boyhood producer Caroline Kaplan and Legally Blonde writer Kirsten Smith.

The news was announced at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

The prize-winners will be invited to a weekend retreat in upstate New York this September.

The New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), which will help run the scheme, said Streep had made a "significant" financial contribution.

Collective IRIS, which also champions women in film, will organise the retreat.

Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents and scripts must be written in the English language.

Streep has been a long-time advocate for equality. She was seen cheering on Patricia Arquette during her Oscars acceptance speech earlier this year, in which she demanded wage equality and equal rights for women in the US.

The actress is also playing Emmeline Pankhurst, who founded the Women's Social and Political Union in the UK, in the upcoming film Suffragette. The film is due to be released in October.

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