Writers of The Newsreader, Heartbreak High, Playing Beatie Bow, Fires, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, Ithaka, and Little J & Big Cuz among nominees for the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards

28 September, 2022

An outstanding field of Australian performance writers has been recognised today as nominees for the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards. After two years online, the Awards will return in person this November with a night dedicated to celebrating the creativity and talent of those at the heart of Australia’s screen and stage industries – the writers. The night will also mark the 60th anniversary of the Australian Writers’ Guild, so it is fitting that the nominee list includes works by preeminent industry and Guild Members alongside first-time nominees and the exciting future of our industry.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the television categories, where the incredible range of Australia’s contemporary screen stories is on display. Leading the Series category is ABC’s critically acclaimed drama The Newsreader, with nominations for AWGIE-winners Niki Aken and Michael Lucas and emerging writer Kim Ho. Pip Karmel picks up her third AWGIE nomination in three years for Total Control, while the impact of streamers on our local industry can be seen with nods for AMC+’s thrilling Indigenous vampire series Firebite (penned by last year’s Major AWGIE Award winner Kodie Bedford), Stan’s coming-of-age dramedy Bump (Jessica Tuckwell) and the first episode of Netflix’s much anticipated Heartbreak High reboot (Hannah Carroll Chapman).

Following its farewell in July, Australia’s favourite cul-de-sac (Neighbours) has picked up nominations for Jessica Paine and Emma J Steele, with the Serial category rounded out by Louise Bowes (Home and Away). Long-time Neighbours exec Jason Herbison is recognised in the Limited Series category alongside Margaret Wilson and Anthony Ellis for Lie With Me, which will compete with ABC’s gripping anthology series Fires, crafted by acclaimed screenwriters Tony Ayres, Belinda Chayko, Anya Beyersdorf, Mirrah Foulkes, Steven McGregor and Jacquelin Perske.

The Feature Film categories celebrate an exciting mix of genres, ranging from chilling thrillers to horror comedies. Leah Purcell’s screen adaptation of the multi-award-winning play The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson (which swept the AWGIE Awards in 2017) will compete with Thomas M. Wright’s The Stranger and Keith Thompson’s delightful Mrs Harris Goes to Paris (co-written with Carroll Cartwright & Anthony Fabian, and Olivia Hetreed). In the Feature Film – Original category, Archibald-prize-winning artist Del Kathryn Barton and Huna Amweero’s debut feature Blaze is up against Renée Webster’s How To Please A Woman, Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes’ genre-bending slasher Sissy, and Jub Clerc and Steve Rodgers’ Sweet As, which recently won the NETPAC Award at Toronto International Film Festival.

Turning to our stages, the newly formed Stage – Adapted category celebrates three deft retellings, with Van Badham’s sharp adaptation of the Orwellian classic Animal Farm nominated alongside Elaine Acworth’s deeply personal journey through her father’s history in My Father’s Wars. They will compete with Kate Mulvany’s reimagining of the beloved Australian novel Playing Beatie Bow, developed and produced with the assistance of the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre, which Mulvany won in 2019. In the Stage – Original category, two visceral and electrifying plays are nominated, with Andrea James and Catherine Ryan’s Australian Gothic Dogged up against Maxine Mellor’s adrenaline-fuelled Horizon.

Outstanding works for young audiences also feature, with plays by Madelaine Nunn (Cactus), Dan Giovannoni (House) and Matthew Whittet (We Are The Mutable) competing in the Theatre For Young Audiences category. Nunn also picks up a nomination in Community and Youth Theatre (Summer at Suspended Stone Camp), alongside Emily Steel’s nuanced depiction of regional life in Euphoria and Joshua Maxwell’s exploration of activism and climate change in Very Happy Children with Bright and Wonderful Futures.

NITV’s standout Indigenous pre-school series Little J & Big Cuz continues its dominance in the Children’s P category, with episodes by Samuel Nuggin-Paynter, Dot West, and Adam Thompson nominated alongside newcomer Beep and Mort (Charlotte Rose Hamlyn). In Children’s C, Rock Island Mysteries (Marisa Nathar) and return-nominee The Strange Chores (Luke Tierney) will compete with two episodes of The PM’s Daughter (Angela McDonald and Lou Sanz).

In the Comedy category, the third season of How To Stay Married (Nick Musgrove) goes up against Metro Sexual (Henry Boffin and Nicholas Kraak) and Spreadsheet (Kala Ellis). Meanwhile, the rivalry resumes between last year’s nominees in Sketch Comedy, recognising the work of some of Australia’s top comedians and satirists: Sophie Braham, James Colley, Cameron James, Bec Melrose and Mark Sutton (Gruen) and Ben Jenkins, Alex Lee, Jenna Owen, Vidya Rajan and Vic Zerbst (The Feed).

Comedians Craig Reucassel and Christiaan Van Vuuren are nominated in the Documentary category, with their exposé on the infiltration of money into Australian politics (Big Deal) up against Georgia Harrison’s Beyond The Reef, Frances Elliott and Samantha Marlowe’s Girl Like You, John Hughes’ Peace Pilgrims and multi-AWGIE-Award-winning filmmaker Ben Lawrence’s Julian Assange documentary, Ithaka.  

Finally, in a strong year for new Web Series, Kodie Bedford picks up a second nomination alongside co-writer Enoch Mailangi for All My Friends Are Racist, which will compete with episodes of Iggy & Ace (AB Morrison), A Beginner’s Guide to Grief (Anna Lindner), The Power of the Dream (Alexandra Keddie and Bobbie-Jean Henning) and It’s Fine, I’m Fine (Jeanette Cronin). Exciting narrative works by Phil Enchelmaier and Bronwen Noakes, Lee Zachariah and Shannon Marinko, Lorin Clarke, Simon Luckhurst and Tommy Murphy are nominated in the new Audio – Fiction category and an excellent slate of films by Natasha Henry, Becki Bouchier, Tanya Modini and Rae Choi will vie for best Short Film. 

The sole nominees in the Animation, Interactive Media & Gaming and Audio – Non-fiction categories will be announced on the night.

Find the full list of nominees for the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards here. Tickets for the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards will go on sale next week.


AWGIE Award winners will be announced at the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards on Thursday 17 November 2022 at the Seymour Centre in Sydney. For those outside Sydney, a broadcast of the event will be free to watch from home or at AWG events in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart. Tickets will go on sale next week.

Awards will be presented across 20 individual categories, including feature film, television, documentary, theatre, interactive media & gaming, audio, animation and children’s television. Individual category winners will be eligible for the Major Award, given to the most outstanding script of the year. Past winners have included Cursed! (2021), Prima Facie (2020), The Harp in the South (2019), Lost & Found (2018), and The Drover’s Wife (2017). Individual theatre category winners are eligible for the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre.

On the night, the AWGIE Awards will honour the achievements and contributions of some of our most esteemed screen and stage writers with the presentation of AWG Life Membership, the Dorothy Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession and the Industry, the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy, and the Hector Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Craft as a Script Producer, Editor or Dramaturg.

Since 1968 the Australian Writers’ Guild has presented the AWGIE Awards to recognise and reward the talents, triumphs and unique contributions of Australian screen and stage writers to the Australian arts. The AWGIE Awards are the only writers’ awards judged solely by writers, based on the written script – the writer’s intention rather than the finished product.

Media contact: Shannen Usher [email protected]

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