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Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting Past Winners

Year Winner Judges' comments
2013

The Damned by Reg Cribb

The Damned is a hard-hitting social drama based on an apparently motiveless murder that took place in Collie, Western Australia, in 2006. Two schoolfriends, Natasha and Kylie, living in the small country town of Rainbow, are caught in a vortex of awakening sexuality, drugs and ennui. They murder another schoolgirl, Sarah-Jane, and hide her body under the house before confessing to the police.

Told with harsh vigour and using brutally poetic dialogue, The Damned surprises with the freshness it brings to a not unfamiliar story. It is fascinating because of the strangely unresolved nature of the drama. Why did they do it? The girls themselves seem oddly indifferent to either Sarah-Jane's fate, or their own. Instead of catharsis, we are offered a glimpse of lost youth. The Damned is a searing encounter with the void at the heart of Australia.

Bold language rooted in the Australian idiom, and a firm grasp of storytelling, make The Damned an outstanding play in a stunning field of contenders. An ambitious, epic drama set amidst the ordinary and apparently mundane, The Damned reaches far beyond itself to say something profound and deeply disturbing about the lonely passions that continue to animate this restless land. 

2012

Porn.Cake. by Vanessa Bates

The Gift by Joanna Murray-Smith

(Joint Winner)