History of the Award

Photograph of Mona Brand on ferry

Established in 2016, the $30,000 Mona Brand Award is presented every two years to an outstanding Australian woman writing for the stage or screen. As well as this major prize for a body of work, the Emerging Writer Award, valued at $10,000, is presented to a female writer who is in the early stages of her career for her first professionally produced, screened or broadcast work.

This is the only award of its kind in Australia and was made possible through a bequest to the State Library of NSW Foundation by the late Mona Alexis Fox nee Brand (1915–2007). Mona Brand was a trailblazing Australian poet, author and a prolific playwright, writing nearly 30 plays. Her work, which often addressed socially relevant and controversial topics has been performed on stage, radio and television in Australia, England, Eastern Europe and India.

In 2002 the Library acquired her papers, which include professional and personal correspondence, diaries, manuscripts photographs and sound and video recordings as well as many other records of her remarkable life and career. As the custodian of this important collection it is fitting that the State Library administers and presents this award, which not only honours the rich legacy Mona Brand imparted but celebrates the best of contemporary writing for stage and screen by Australian women.