AN epic play about war and its consequences has won a prestigious new award for drama.

Cannibals by Rory Mullarkey is the second play to win the James Tait Black drama prize awarded by Edinburgh University.

The play charts the story of a young farmer's wife forced to flee her home during a war. Its win was announced at an event at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh last night, for which the National Theatre of Scotland produced readings from extracts of all three shortlisted plays.

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Cannibals, which is Mullarkey's first full-length play, is set in a remote region of Eastern Europe and is about Lizaveta, who is forced to leave her home when her husband is killed by a soldier fighting in an unnamed war. She then becomes a victim of human trafficking.

George Aza-Selinger, ­literary manager at the National Theatre of Scotland, said the opening scene was "one of the most heart-rending and truthful depictions of love that I have ever read", adding: "Cannibals is a play of soaring originality, authenticity and ambition."