Announcing the Winners of the 2024 John Hinde Award!

14 April, 2024

Writer Stephanie Westwood has been named winner in the unproduced category of the AWG’s John Hinde Award, for a moving and naturalistic sci-fi game. You Can Survive a Rip Current, the only interactive script in the shortlist, was chosen from seven outstanding science-fiction projects spanning film, TV and audio. Westwood will receive $5,000 in script development funding and mentorship meetings with an experienced genre producer selected specifically for her project. 

From almost 200 entries, one winning script was selected from each of the three award categories (Unproduced, Produced in 2023 and Produced in 2022). 

In the Produced Categories 

Charlotte Rose Hamlyn wins the produced in 2023 category for her episode of the popular ABC Me series: Space Nova, a sci-fi animation for kids, created by Thomas Duncan-Watt. 

Lucy Campbell’s debut feature screenplay Monolith wins the produced in 2022 category. 

Hamlyn and Campbell will each receive $10,000 in prize money. 

Aside from the winning projects, two shortlisted works were highly commended by judges: 

The Borders by Adam Scullin (Television, Unproduced Category) 

Latency by James Croke (Feature Film, Produced in 2022 Category) 

Quote from Susie Hamilton, AWG’s Director of Professional Development  
“We are thrilled to celebrate these talented writers for their outstanding science-fiction projects that demonstrate humour, suspense, warmth, authenticity and above all, originality. It’s also fantastic to see a games writer honoured in the unproduced category this year; the games sector is rapidly evolving and there is great potential for writers to display boundless creativity.” 

Winning Writers & Judges Remarks 

Stephanie Westwood is a Naarm-based writer and producer who has worked across games, shorts, features and television. She is passionate about using genre to explore stories about both dysfunctional and found families, and loves enabling others to do the same. She currently works as a producer at Orange Entertainment Co, and has a slate of projects in development as a writer. 

Westwood on winning the John Hinde Award 

You Can Survive a Rip Current began as something I needed to write during the marriage equality referendum, as a love letter to my past self. It could only be in an interactive format – it requires active participation, just as any form of protest, love, or mutual aid does.  

It is such an honour to have my work recognised by the AWG, especially an interactive fiction project, so different from a traditional feature or pilot in many ways. I hope it only leads to further discovery and cross-pollination between Australia’s very talented games and interactive artists, and the wider film and television industry.” 

Judges’ remarks:  
“This narrative game, with its beautifully realised and naturalistic characters, sings with the authenticity of experience. Its surprisingly moving conclusion is deeply earned, wonderfully visual, and deftly avoids the pitfalls of heavy-handedness. The story’s approach to its horror/sci-fi elements is fresh and well-handled while the game play navigates the two time frames and environments with skill and precision.”   

Charlotte Rose Hamlyn is an Australian Writers’ Guild Award-winning Screenwriter for children's television, an author and a TV presenter. Charlotte has written over one hundred episodes of broadcast television for shows including: Space Nova, Kangaroo Beach, 100% Wolf, Blinky Bill, Guess How Much I Love You, Motown Magic and the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series Beat Bugs featuring the music of The Beatles. She also wrote and illustrated the children’s graphic novel Opposite Land (Penguin Random House) and appeared as a host on all four seasons of Get Arty (Foxtel/Channel 7) in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. More recently, Charlotte co-founded Big Serious Studios to develop a slate of STEM-inspired kids’ animated television projects. Big Serious has already enjoyed early success with the support of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and even Nobel Prize Laureates

Hamlyn on receiving the John Hinde Award: 

“Receiving Australia’s top science-fiction screenwriting prize is a huge surprise and an even bigger honour, and this second win for Space Nova is yet another nod to the quality of Australian Children’s television. Only in the genre of science-fiction and in the good humour of children’s television is a quirky concept about bioengineered bread doppelgängers even possible, and my heartfelt thanks go to the teams at ABC, SLR Productions, and head writer/script producer Thomas Duncan-Watt for not only making a stellar show (pun always intended) but for allowing and supporting our wildest ideas. 

I am immensely grateful to the AWG, the estate of John Hinde, and his vision to support science-fiction screenwriting in Australia. His legacy continues to inspire and uplift writers like me, and this has already inspired my next science-fiction project.” 

Judges’ Remarks: 

"A well-crafted, briskly paced script that has a lot of fun with its wacky sci-fi premise. The gags come thick and fast, the characters are well-defined and the writer has a clear understanding of their audience." 

Lucy Campbell is an Australian writer and director. Her debut feature screenplay Monolith was directed by Matt Vesely and had its international premiere at SXSW Film Festival. Monolith was nominated for Best Indie Film at the AACTAs and the film prize at Cinefest Oz, and has played festivals throughout the world including AFF, MIFF, SXSW Sydney, Sitges Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival and Frightfest. As a writer/director, her short films and online series have screened at festivals around the world and her sci-fi series The Big Nothing has over 1M views on DUST. In addition to her own projects, Lucy works as a TV script editor/coordinator, working on shows including Desert King, Firebite, Stateless, Pine Gap, Upright and Wolf Creek S2.  

She is currently developing film and television projects in both Australia and the US, including her debut feature as a writer/director. 

Campbell on winning the John Hinde Award: 

"I'm so thrilled to win the John Hinde Award with Monolith. It's been an incredible journey with the film and for my script to be recognised by the Australian Writers’ Guild with such a prestigious award is a brilliant way to cap off a wild ride. As a kid, science fiction movies gave me an escape into a thrilling, freaky, sometimes scary and often beautiful world of otherworldly possibilities, and I'm so pleased that sci-fi writers have a home with the John Hinde Award – sci-fi forever!" 

Judges’ remarks: 
“A great and frightening thriller. The script is beautifully written, with the writer obviously in total command of character, mood, tension and (of course) genre. The suspense is well-paced and the dialogue is thought-provoking and creepy. This script really makes the most of its constrained location and sci-fi ideas to provoke a primal kind of fear in the reader."