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2021 - Winner
Lawyer Charlotte Gibson is an Aboriginal woman who comes to despair of her wealthy father’s protestations of disadvantage. Charlotte comes home for Christmas with her unemployed, white boyfriend, Francis Smith, exposing Francis to the preconceptions and prejudices of her family.
Black is the New White is written as a play but reads like a novel. It is courageous, perceptive, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny. Nakkiah Lui is a brave and original talent with a sharp ear for dialogue and a stylish, confident touch.
Her play is 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.
There was a strong field of entrants for this year’s prize but the judges ultimately agreed that Lui’s was the most significant and fully realised piece of comedic writing to have been published in Australia in the last two years.