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‘Blazing talent’ Kate Mulvany wins top prize for women playwrights

Friday 18 September 2020

Hailed by the judges as a ‘blazing talent’, stage and screen writer/actor Kate Mulvany has won the coveted Mona Brand Award for 2020 — Australia’s only prize for women stage and screen writers — the State Library of NSW announced TONIGHT [18 September 2020]. 

A prolific playwright, screenwriter, poet and novelist, Kate Mulvany OAM was awarded the $30,000 Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers for her extensive body of work comprising more than 30 plays over a 25-year career. 

Kate’s acclaimed adaptation of Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South trilogy (Sydney Theatre Company) is among her recent work. Her original feminist piece The Mares played to rave reviews at the Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2019. 

The Mona Brand Award is offered biennially thanks to the generous bequest to the NSW State Library Foundation from the trailblazing Australian playwright Mona Brand (who also wrote under the name Alexis Fox). 

Senior judge Helen Bowden said: “In this third iteration of the Mona Brand Award, it is exciting to highlight the brilliance of a new generation writer, Kate Mulvany, from a wonderfully diverse and competitive field.” 

“Kate Mulvany’s writing is bright-eyed, candid and generous. Still a young woman, she has produced a huge body of work that is feminist, activist and very entertaining. She is a playwright, an adaptor and a television script writer, and she is speaking to a broad swathe of audiences both in Australia and internationally about the issues of our time.” 

The $10,000 Early Career Writer Award went to Anchuli Felicia King for her work White Pearl (Royal Court, 2019), described by the judges as “sharp, far-reaching and urgent. It extends and emboldens the representation of Asian women with complexity and resonance.” 

The State Library administers and supports numerous awards including the NSW Premier’s Literary and History Awards, the National Biography Award, the Russell Prize for Humour Writing, and the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. The Library also manages an extensive Fellowships program, which is supported by the State Library Foundation and generous private benefactors. 

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