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Inaugural award for women writers announced

Monday, 7 November 2016

One of Australia’s most successful playwrights on the international stage has won the inaugural Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers, the State Library of NSW announced TONIGHT [7 November 2016].  

Joanna Murray‐Smith, playwright, screenwriter and novelist, was awarded the $30,000 prize for her extensive body of work comprising over 15 published plays which have been performed in Australia, London, on Broadway and many other countries in numerous languages.  

Her recent work includes Switzerland, premiered as part of Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015 season (and performed to audience acclaim in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2016 season), and the hugely successful comedy opera miniseries, The Divorce, which screened on ABC TV in 2015.   

The judges were unanimous in selecting Ms Murray‐Smith as the inaugural winner of the Mona Brand Award, made possible by a generous bequest to NSW State Library Foundation from the trailblazing Australian playwright Mona Brand (who also wrote under the name of Alexis Fox).   

A second award with a $10,000 prize, named the Mona Brand Emerging Writer Award, was initiated by the Foundation to recognise fresh new talent. This award went to Cleverman actor Jada Alberts for her first produced play, Brothers Wreck.  The judges also Highly Commended writer and director Billie Pleffer for her screenplay, Baby Baby.

The Award’s patron, revered Australian actor and director Robyn Nevin AM said: “it is an honour and privilege to represent this marvellous initiative for women writers thanks to the generosity of the late Mona Brand and the State Library.”  

For more information about the Award please contact: Edwina Duffy, Senior Project Officer, Awards, State Library of NSW (02) 9273 1582 or

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Headshot of Joanna Murray-Smith

Joanna Murray-Smith

 2016 Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers winner

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Headshot of Jada Alberts

Jada Alberts

2016 Mona Brand Emerging Writer Award winner

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headshot of Billie Pleffer

Billie Pleffer

Highly Commended 
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