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Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting

About the Prize

The Betty Roland Prize ($30,000) is offered for the screenplay of a feature-length fiction film, for the script of a documentary film, for the script of a play or documentary for radio, or for the script of a television program (whether fiction or non-fiction). A script will be eligible for consideration if a film or radio or television program has been first publicly screened or broadcast between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018. Scripts written by more than four authors are not eligible for the Scriptwriting Award. Only one episode, per writer, per series can be considered. Only the writer’s original work will be considered for an award.

In the case of a feature-length film, the final shooting script should be submitted; in other cases, shooting and production scripts, which may differ from the original script, may be submitted only if accompanied by the original script. 

Assessment will be made entirely on the literary merit of the written text, and not on the merits of the resulting film, radio or television program. 

About Betty Roland

Betty Roland (1903-1996) was an Australian writer of plays, novels, screenplays, children’s books and comics. Roland left school at sixteen to train as a journalist, working for Table Talk and Sun News-Pictorial. She began writing plays in the mid-1920s. Her best-known play The Touch of Silk being first performed in 1928 by the Melbourne Repertory Theatre company. 

Roland lived in Russia for several years while being in a relationship with Guido Baracchi, one of the founders of the Australian Communist Party. She returned to Australia in 1935 writing a number of political plays, but became disillusioned with the Communist Party.

Roland also wrote the screenplay for what is claimed as the first Australian feature length "talkie" movie Spur of the Moment (1932) credited as Betty M. Davies. 

Roland began writing for the radio, including The First GentlemanDaddy Was Asleep and The White Cockade. During the 1950s she worked as a freelance writer in London, but returned to Australia in 1961 and moved on to write a number of highly regarded children’s novels. Roland is most-admired for her three volumes of autobiography, the first being Caviar for Breakfast (1979).