The Drover's Wife takes top prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards announced Leah Purcell's The Drover’s Wife (Currency Press and Belvoir in association with Oombarra Productions) has been awarded Book of the Year and the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting.

The Drover's Wife takes top prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

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According to Senior Judge, Suzanne Leal: “Australian literature is in fine form. This is confirmed by strong shortlists in each category of this year’s Awards and winning entries that explore the world with lyricism, whimsy, sorrow, fury, passion and humour. ”

In 2014 Purcell won The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award, the prize was a commission to write this play.Her double NSW win comes just three months after she won the nation’s richest literary award, the $100,000 Victorian Premier’s Prize.

Leah Purcell’s retooling of Henry Lawson’s story represents a seismic shift in postcolonial Australian playwriting,” the judges said in their report“Brave, ruthless and utterly compelling from the first image, this epic tragedy is a passionate howl of pain and rage ... a bold and exciting contribution to Australian playwriting – and, arguably, to Australia’s very identity

"...Leah Purcell has made a bold and exciting contribution to Australian playwriting and, arguably, to Australia’s identity. She has repurposed colonial tropes and reinvented an existing form to insist that we consider a new exploration of culture. The unforgettable central character brims with emotional integrity and contradiction. Birth and death co-exist, as do love and brutality, despair and resilience. This is a work to challenge our sense of ourselves and of our place."

The playwright’s adaptation ofThe Drover’s Wife will soon tour nationally and abroad, with an adaptation underway.

WINNERS 2017

Book of the Year ($10,000)
The Drover's Wife, Leah Purcell (Currency Press and Belvoir in association with Oombarra Productions)

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000)
The Museum of Modern Love, Heather Rose (Allen & Unwin)

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5000 – sponsored by UTS)
Letter to Pessoa, Michelle Cahill (Giramondo Press)

Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction ($40,000)
Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead, Thornton McCamish (Black Inc.)

Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)
Ghostspeaking, Peter Boyle (Vagabond Press)

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature ($30,000)
Iris and Tiger, Leanne Hall (Text Publishing)

Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature ($30,000)
One Thousand Hills, James Roy and Noël Zihabamwe (Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia)

Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting ($30,000)
The Drover's Wife, Leah Purcell (Currency Press and Belvoir in association with Oombarra Productions)

Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting ($30,000)
The Code, Series 2 Episode 4, Shelley Birse (Playmaker Media)
Down Under, Abe Forsythe (Riot Film Pty Ltd)

Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000)
The Hate Race, Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia)

The NSW Premier's Translation Prize ($30,000)
Royall Tyler

Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize ($5000)
Jan Owen

People's Choice Award
Vancouver #3 in the series Wisdom Tree, Nick Earls (Inkerman & Blunt)

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