• arts & culture

29 January 2016

Mary Anne Butler has become the first playwright to win Australia's richest literary award, the Victorian Prize for Literature, for her emotionally charged play Broken.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced the win, worth $125,000, at the 2016 Premier's Literary Awards in Melbourne last night. The Darwin-based writer also took out the Drama category.

A three-time winner of the Northern Territory Literary Award for scriptwriting, Mary Anne is also co-Artistic Director of Darwin's Knock-em-Down Theatre Company.

Broken tells the story of three complex lives as they unfold on a single fateful night in the heart of the Northern Territory's desert country. The play wrestles with matters of chance, choice, hope and fate.

Selected from a strong field of 21 finalists across five categories, the judges described Broken as an extremely well-crafted work that brings alive Australia's top end – the land and its people – with tension, sadness and humour.

The other category winners, each awarded $25,000, were:

  • PRIZE FOR FICTION: The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Sydney, NSW) 
  • PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION: Something for the Pain by Gerald Murnane (Goroke, Vic) 
  • PRIZE FOR POETRY: Crankhandle by Alan Loney (Malvern East, Vic) 
  • PRIZE FOR WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS: Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward (Brunswick West, Vic) 

Miles Allinson, who won the 2014 award for an Unpublished Manuscript, was announced as winner of the People's Choice Award for Fever of Animals.

The Victorian Premier's Literary Awards were established in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. They are administered by The Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

Visit the Wheeler Centre website to find out more