Seoul City Sue

2019 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments 

Seoul City Sue offers a meditation on the life and times of Ann Wallace (if that ever was her name), an American Christian missionary turned communist-mouthpiece during the Korean War. The script explores her participation in propaganda broadcasts — like those of Tokyo Rose before her — aimed at demoralising US troops. Were they undertaken voluntarily or under duress? Dramatist Janaczewska takes us on an impressionistic journey to Korea and the American Midwest in search of answers.

This thoughtful radio script uses overlapping music and voice to switch between a conventional documentary approach, evaluating contradictory reports about Seoul City Sue, with a self-reflexive treatment of the author’s own fascination with a corner of this so-called ‘forgotten war’ — a war that nonetheless shaped Australia’s postwar sense of itself. In the absence of a conclusive smoking gun, the script conjures up a more ambiguous way of connecting with both its ostensible subject and listening audience.