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Winners announced

2020 Winners and Shortlists

Mona Brand Award 2020 Presentation

Mona Brand Award Presentation

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About the prize

Established in 2016, the $30,000 Mona Brand Award is presented every two years to an outstanding Australian woman writing for the stage or screen. As well as this major prize for a body of work, the Early Career Writer Award, valued at $10,000, is presented to a female writer who is in the early stages of her career for her first professionally produced, screened or broadcast work.

This is the only award of its kind in Australia and was made possible through a bequest to the State Library of NSW Foundation by the late Mona Brand (1915–2007).

The Award is presented biennially for the following two categories:

  1. Mona Brand Award ($30,000) for a body of outstanding work displaying broad array and which has been widely performed or screened to critical acclaim.
  2. Early Career Writer Award ($10,000) for a female writer who is in the early stages of her career, for one of her first works professionally produced or screened or broadcast between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2020.

The Mona Brand Award/s are open to female writers of:

  • plays;
  • music drama;
  • screenplays of feature-length fiction films;
  • scripts of documentary films;
  • scripts of plays or documentaries for radio, the web and/or streaming services; or
  • scripts of television programs (fiction or non-fiction).

Read more about the Awards on the Award Guidelines.

The judging panel

Photo of Helen Bowden

Helen Bowden

Senior Judge

Producer, Lingo Pictures

Helen Bowden is one of Australia’s most prolific and highly awarded drama producers. Recent credits include: Lambs of God (Winner of the 2019 Best Mini-series AACTA) starring Ann Dowd, Essie Davis and Jessica Barden for Foxtel; Upright starring Tim Minchin for Foxtel and Sky UK; and The Secrets She Keeps starring Laura Carmichael, Jessica de Gouw and Michael Dorman for Network Ten.  She has also produced On the RopesWake in FrightDevil’s Playground (Winner of the 2015 Best Mini-series AACTA and Logie) and The Slap (Winner of the 2010 Best Mini-series AACTA and Logie). 

Helen was a founder of Matchbox Pictures, which formed in 2008 and sold to NBCUniversal in early 2014. Helen then formed Lingo Pictures with Jason Stephens (ex Fremantle Media) in 2015. She is the Managing Director. 

Headshot of Louise Gough

Louise Gough

Head of Development at Arenamedia; Head of New Work at Belvoir

Louise has 25 years’ experience in development, beginning in theatre as a dramaturg and extending into screen story development 15 years ago. In Australia, Louise was Editorial Manager at ABC TV Drama and Narrative Comedy, Script Manager at Film Victoria, in the development team at Madman Production Company and Development Executive (Story) at Screen Australia. Louise’s past theatre positions include Literary Manager at Playbox (now Malthouse) in Melbourne, Resident Dramaturg at Queensland Theatre Company (now Queensland Theatre) and Literary Fellow at Vineyard Theatre (NYC). For the last ten years, Louise has worked as a script advisor with Sources 2 in Europe, leading residential feature film development labs and working on fiction features as a script editor or dramatic advisor throughout Australia and Europe, including time as an Advisor at the Berlinale Talent Campus (Script Station). Louise is currently working across two positions - Head of Development at Arenamedia, and Head of New Work at Belvoir.

Annette Shun Wah

Executive Producer, Contemporary Asian Australian Performance

Annette Shun Wah is a writer, broadcast, actor and producer.

After an extensive career in television and radio working mainly for ABC (The Big PictureMedia Dimensions) and SBS (Eat CarpetThe NoiseImagineThe Movie Show) she now focuses on live performance.

Since 2013 she been Executive Producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), formerly Performance 4a. Under her leadership, this small company has developed an impactful presence in the performing arts sector, developing professional pathways and opportunities for Asian Australian artists.

Annette has also developed compelling new works for the company including several which she co-directed with master storyteller and photographer William Yang. These include The Backstories, commissioned and presented by Adelaide Festival; and the hip hop storytelling show In Between Two featuring Joelistics and James Mangohig.

Annette devised the original concept for the 2014 Sydney Festival hit The Serpent’s Table – combining food, theatre, and performance. A new iteration of this piece, Double Delicious will premier in 2020 at Sydney Festival and tour to Asia TOPA in Geelong and Melbourne.

As a writer, her first book co-written with Greg Aitkin was Banquet – Ten Courses to Harmony. She has contributed to several anthologies including Growing Up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung and Grandma Magic edited by Janet Hutchison.

As an actor Annette was nominated for an AFI Award for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her performance in the feature film Floating Life directed by Clara Law.

Annette previously served on the boards of One Extra Dance and Sydney Writers’ Festival. From 2015-2017 she was a member of the founding Directorate of the National Theatre of Parramatta. She has been on the board of Sydney Theatre Company since 2018.

About Mona Brand

Photograph of Mona Brand on ferry

Mona Alexis Fox nee Brand was a trailblazing Australian poet, author and a prolific playwright, writing nearly 30 plays. Her work, which often addressed socially relevant and controversial topics has been performed on stage, radio and television in Australia, England, Eastern Europe and India.

In 2002 the Library acquired her papers, which include professional and personal correspondence, diaries, manuscripts photographs and sound and video recordings as well as many other records of her remarkable life and career. As the custodian of this important collection it is fitting that the State Library administers and presents this award, which not only honours the rich legacy Mona Brand imparted but celebrates the best of contemporary writing for stage and screen by Australian women.



2020 Mona Brand Award Guidelines (For reference only)

For more information contact the Senior Project Officer, Awards:

(02) 9273 1582 or (02) 9273 1605