12 November, 2016
The Australian Writers’ Guild has congratulated Melbourne playwright Joanna Murray-Smith for winning the State Library of New South Wales’ inaugural $30,000 Mona Brand Award for outstanding writing for the stage or screen by an Australian woman.
The award recognises Murray-Smith’s huge body of work, including more than 20 plays which have been performed in some 30 countries.
Jacqueline Elaine, Executive Director of the AWG and one of the award’s judges, said the win is a fitting acknowledgement of one of Australia’s great playwrights:‘This award celebrates the best of contemporary writing for stage and screen by Australian women and Joanne is more than credentialed to win. Over many years she has penned some of Australia’s and the world’s most successful plays, including Honour which has had successful runs on Broadway and in the UK.‘
'Joanna is clearly among our most successful playwrights, both here and overseas,’ Elaine said.
Jada Alberts won the other award of the night in the Emerging Writer category, an award of $10,000 presented to a female writer for stage or screen in the early stages of her career. Jada was nominated in 2015 for an AWGIE Award for her play, Brothers Wreck.
Billie Pleffer, who was highly commended in the Emerging Writer category for her screenplay Baby Baby, is an AWG member and won an AWGIE Award in the short film category in 2014 for Baby Baby.
‘For an emerging writer to receive such a commendation provides an amazing boost of encouragement and motivation to keep kicking on. It is a great honour to be in such esteemed company and it's so fantastic to see brilliant women being celebrated,’ said Pleffer.
The AWG assisted with promotion of the Award, encouraging Australian women stage and screen writers within its membership to enter.