Jada Alberts

2016 - Winner


Judges' comments

Brothers Wreck is Jada Alberts’ superb professional playwriting debut. An intimate portrait of Ruben, a 21‐year‐old Indigenous man dealing with the suicide of his cousin, this moving and confronting work deeply impressed the judges. In a deceptively simple style, it chronicles Ruben’s pain, confusion and self‐recrimination, in circumstances where his own path to self‐destruction seems certain.

Yet, in Jada Alberts’ hands, the drama is not only a powerful piece about grief and anger; it is also a story of the hope, humour and pathos of a tightknit, loving family that is determined to save Ruben from the tragic fate which is reaching epidemic proportions among young Indigenous people.

Brothers Wreck is comprised of a series of short, unpretentious, plain‐speaking scenes. It is refreshing in its clean and direct execution, and in its uncompromising commitment to balancing the brutal private realities of the shameful national tragedy of Indigenous youth suicide with the redemptive power of a community of unrelenting love and determination.

Jada Alberts delivers an important message — one of compassion, understanding and respect — and they do it with the craft and intelligence of a playwright who we can’t wait to see more from.

Jada's acceptance speech

November 2016

I was so sad to learn that I couldn't be here to receive this award personally. This is such an honour. To receive this award in tribute of such an incredible writer, feels precious and affirmining and is undoubtedly the highlight of my career to date. Thank you. It means much more than I can say.

I come from a very long line of extraordinary women who taught me story, and taught me truth. Larrakia women. Yanyuwa women. They made something out of nothing so often, and with such little support and recognition. For that I owe them everything - my mother, Franchesca Cubillo and my grandmothers Cecelia Cubillo, Hilda Muir and Teresa Cubillo.

When I began to write professionally I wouldn't have made it through the work without the generosity and guidance of Katherine Box, Nicky Gluyas, Francesca Smith, Anne-Louise Sarks, and Jane Allen. Thank you for the encouragement, the opportunities, for seeing I was capable and teaching me. A huge thank you also to my writing agents, Charlie and Edwina and the biggest thank you of all to the State Library of New South Wales for this truly incredible honour.