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Martin McKenzie-Murray’s “savage, dark and uproariously funny” satirical memoir The Speechwriter has won the $10,000 biennial Russell Prize for Humour Writing, Australia’s only humour writing prize.
The judges applauded McKenzie-Murray’s fictional debut for its dazzling wordplay and sheer inventiveness: “Forget every satirical political memoir you have ever read. The Speechwriter is here to re-invent the genre in a time where politics comes to us in fractals of the unreliable, shameless, self-serving, deluded and absurd.”
The $10,000 biennial prize has been made possible by the generous donation from the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer, businessman and passionate reader, and his goddaughter Rachel Blazey, to celebrate, recognise and encourage the humour writing genre.
“It is always a joy to celebrate those that help us through our good times and bad with a wry comment, a quick wit or a dreadfully dry but funny story,” commented Rachel Blazey. “Whatever the style of humour that appeals, never let a day pass when you don’t enjoy the funny side of life!”
Lian Tanner’s Rita’s Revenge (Allen & Unwin) was announced as the winner of the $5,000 Humour Writing for Young People prize, selected by a panel of five youth judges.
Chair of the judging panel, journalist, author and comedian Wendy Harmer will be in-conversation with Martin McKenzie-Murray at a free event at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in Carriageworks on Friday 26 May, from 3.30 to 4.30 pm. Book here.