A Brilliant Career: Writing for Stage and Screen

A Brilliant Career: Writing for Stage and Screen

Sydney Writers' Festival

Be there when we announce the winners of the $40,000 Mona Brand Award, Australia’s richest prize for women stage and screen writers.

headshot of actress Claudia Karvan
1 / 1 event in this Awards series
19 May 2022 5:30pm to 7:30pm


General Admission: Free


Gallery Room, Ground Floor
Mitchell Building
Sydney NSW 2000


As part of the event, special guests Claudia Karvan and Kesley Munro, creators of the popular and highly acclaimed show Bump, will be in conversation with  television producer Helen Bowden.

This will be followed by a discussion with the 2018 Mona Brand Award winner, playwright Patricia Cornelius, about her distinguished career and the role of women writers before she presents the 2022 Award winners.

Helen Bowden

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); Upright; and The Secrets She Keeps.  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 NBC Universal in early 2014. Helen then formed Lingo Pictures with Jason Stephens in 2015 as the Managing Director.  



headshot of actress Claudia Karvan

Claudia Karvan is one of Australia’s most respected and acclaimed film and television actors. She co- created and stars in the new Australian series Bump. Claudia has starred in numerous Australian television series and miniseries including hosting the ABC’s Books That Made Us, Puberty BluesNewton’s Law and Jack Irish to name a few. She was also the creator, producer and star of Foxtel’s hugely successful series Love My Way, winning numerous awards including Silver Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series and the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Television Drama Series three years in a row. Claudia’s film credits include June AgainThe True Story of the Ned Kelly GangThe DarksideDaybreakers and The Heartbreak Kid for which she was awarded Best Actress by the Film Critics Circle of Australia.




Patricia Cornelius

Patricia Cornelius is a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre. She’s a playwright, novelist and film writer. Patricia has a fierce commitment to class and her work often examines the lives of the marginalized. Her work also includes dramaturgy and mentorship with young or new playwrights. She is a recipient of numerous awards including the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize and Australia’s Mona Brand Award and the 2019 Green Room award for Life Achievement. She has written over 35 plays including ShitBig HeartSavages, Do not go gentle…SlutLove and The Call. Patricia co-wrote the feature film adaptation Blessed, based on the play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? She is currently developing a feature film, Stolen, with director and co-writer, Catriona McKenzie. Her novel, My Sister Jill (Random House) was published in 2002. Patricia is currently working on a major stage commission for the Melbourne Theatre Company.



Kelsey Munro

Kelsey Munro is a writer, researcher and journalist from Sydney, and the co-creator and writer of the original Stan comedy-drama Bump. Bump received critical acclaim and was the most-watched debut on Stan at its release in January 2021. She was previously a Lowy Institute research fellow and a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra where she led a major project on authoritarian technology and human rights, and co-authored a landmark report into forced labour in global supply chains. As a journalist she was a news reporter covering state politics and education policy for the Sydney Morning Herald, where she was also a senior editor; and worked as a features writer for The Guardian and Rolling Stone, among others.




Sydney Writers Festival


Mona Brand

Established in 2016, the $30,000 Mona Brand Award is presented every two years to an outstanding Australian woman – cis, trans, non-binary inclusive - 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 woman writer who is in the early stages of her/their career for her/their 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 Fox nee Brand (1915–2007) a trailblazing Australian poet, author and a prolific playwright of nearly 30 plays. Her work, which often addressed socially relevant and controversial topics has been performed on stage, radio and television in Australia and overseas.

In 2002 the Library acquired her papers, including correspondence, diaries, manuscripts photographs, recordings and 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 by Australian women.


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