In 2016, the State Library of NSW presented the inaugural Mona Brand Award (recognising outstanding Australian female writers for the stage or screen) to Joanna Murray-Smith. The award was at the behest of author, playwright and poet Mona Brand who championed the role of women’s voices on stage and screen. Join Tracey Spicer and a panel of female stage and screen writers including Joanna Murray-Smith, Rachael Coopes and Jada Alberts as they discuss their experiences, inspirations and the reality of being a writer today.

Presented with the State Library of NSW.

Joanna Murray-Smith (Australian)

Murray-Smith, Joanna.jpg

Joanna Murray‐Smith is a playwright, novelist, librettist and screenwriter. Her plays have been produced extensively throughout Australia and all over the world, including on Broadway, the West End and the Royal National Theatre in London. They include Switzerland, Honour, Songs for Nobodies, Fury and many others. Joanna’s plays have been nominated for and won many awards, including the Premier’s Literary Award for drama (three times). Joanna has received the Commonwealth Medal for Services to Playwriting and in 2016 was the inaugural winner of the Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers.

Rachael Coopes (Australian)

Coopes, Rachael.jpg

Rachael Coopes is a writer for television and theatre whose work includes SBS’s Life Support, ABC’s Play School, and Drop Dead Weird. Her theatre work has been performed internationally. In 2016 her play Sugarland (with Wayne Blair) won the Sydney Theatre Award-Best Production for Young People and the Helpmann Award for Best Regional Touring Production. This year Rachael has been nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Theatre Writing. She is currently working on a play based on Les Darcy.

Jada Alberts (Australian)

Alberts, Jada.JPG

Jada Alberts is a Larrakia, Bardi, Wadaman and Yanuwa performer from the Top End of Australia. In 2007 Jada won the Adelaide Critics’ Circle Award for Best Emerging Artist. Jada has appeared extensively on stage and screen. In 2013 she won the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwrights Award. In 2015 she was nominated for numerous awards for Brother’s Wreck. In 2016 Jada won the Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers Emerging Writers.

Tracey Spicer (Australian)

Spicer, Tracey.jpg

Tracey Spicer is the author of the frank and funny 'femoir', The Good Girl Stripped Bare. Over the past 30 years, the award-winning journalist has anchored national news, current affairs and lifestyle programs on Network Ten, Sky News, and ABC TV. She's also brought her sassy style to radio shows on 702 ABC Sydney and 2UE. The 49-year-old is a weekly columnist for Fairfax Media, TV presentation trainer at AFTRS, and co-founder of Women in Media, a national mentoring and networking initiative. Her TEDx Talk has been seen by almost 1.5 million people.