Winners of Australia’s only humour writing prize announced

Thursday 17 June 2021

Nakkiah Lui’s perceptive, surprising and laugh-out-loud play Black is the New White is the winner of the $10,000 biennial Russell Prize for Humour Writing, Australia’s only humour writing prize.

The judges praised Black is the New White as “doubly important at a time when it has become unfashionable to focus on class among so many other ‘identities’ from which to choose. Lui reminds us that the deepest divisions are always about wealth and power. And she makes us grin, chuckle, snigger and wriggle uneasily as she does so.”  

Black is the New White was selected from a diverse field of 48 entries by judges Mark Dapin, Joy Lawn, Piers Grove and Bernard Cohen.

The shortlist comprised:

  • The F Team by Rawah Arja (Giramondo Publishing)
  • Mammoth by Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press)
  • Factory 19 by Dennis Glover (Black Inc.)
  • It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing)
  • Burger Force Vol. 4: Punishment by Jackie Ryan (Parentheses Press)

The inaugural $5,000 Humour Writing for Young People Award, offered for a published work intended for readers between the ages of 5 and 12, was awarded via an online ceremony this morning.

The panel of junior judges selected Philip Bunting’s Wombat (Scholastic Australia) as the winner, describing it as a ‘magical journey through “wombatmanity” with marvellously naive illustrations and captivatingly rhythmic prose’. 

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