Playwright Kate Mulvany’s epic and acclaimed stage adaptation of the Australian classic The Harp in the South has taken out the 2019 Major Award – the highest honour of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual AWGIE Awards.
On a night celebrating the enduring art of storytelling and the exceptional craft and creativity of Australia’s top writers, Mulvany’s win captured the spirit of the 2019 Awards, where beloved and iconic Australian stories and rich, bold works with global reach were honoured in equal measure.
This was evident in the feature film categories, where the Oscar-nominated tour-de-force of wit and historical satire The Favourite garnered Tony McNamara an Award for best original script with co-writer Deborah Davis, while Shaun Grant’s upcoming True History of the Kelly Gang took home the Award for adaptation.
“The breadth of our nominees and winners is tremendous,” said Jacqueline Elaine, CEO Australian Writers’ Guild. “Last year a seven-minute dialogue-free animation took out our top award, and this year the extraordinary effort behind a six-hour stage adaptation. What a delightful example of the diversity and range characteristic of Australia’s screen and stage writers.”
The Harp in the South has been heralded as breathing new life into the beloved novel, and earlier in the evening received the AWGIE Award in the stage category as well as the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre – awarded each year to the most outstanding script selected from the winners of each of the theatre categories.
The Prize is worth $100,000, with $20,000 of the prize awarded to the playwright of the winning theatre script, and $80,000 of the prize going to the theatre company that commissioned and developed it for the stage, with the express purpose of the prize money being used to commission, develop and program a new Australian work.
Jan Sardi was awarded the Guild’s prestigious Richard Lane Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Australian Writers’ Guild, following eight years as AWG President, previous terms as the Victorian representative, his contribution to a range of committees, and his current role as Chair of the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society, and
Mac Gudgeon was presented with the Dorothy Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession and the Industry, honouring a career that has included positions on the board of Film Victoria, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, and the AWG, as well as writing some of Australia’s top films and series, including The Secret River, Killing Time, Halifax FP, Ground Zero, Last Ride, and Wind.
Writer, actor, and comedian Magda Szubanski was awarded the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy, recognising the invaluable contribution she has made to Australian comedy writing, and the iconic characters created, in a career spanning 30 years. Longstanding Australian Writers’ Guild member Patrick Edgeworth was made a Life Member.
Since 1968 the Australian Writers’ Guild has presented the AWGIE Awards to recognise and reward the talents, triumphs and unique contributions of Australian screen and stage writers to the Australian arts. For more information and complete list of winners, visit: www.awg.com.au for details.
Image: The Harp in the South – photo by Daniel Boud