Nakkiah Lui wins Australia’s only prize for humour writing

Nakkiah Lui
Nakkiah Lui’s perceptive, surprising and laugh-out-loud play 
Black is the New White has won the $10,000 biennial Russell Prize for Humour Writing, Australia’s only humour writing prize, the State Library of NSW announced tonight.  

The play was staged by Black Swan State Theatre Company in 2019.

The judges praised Black is the New White as “doubly important at a time when it has become unfashionable to focus on class among so many other ‘identities’ from which to choose. Lui reminds us that the deepest divisions are always about wealth and power. And she makes us grin, chuckle, snigger and wriggle uneasily as she does so.” 

Black is the New White was selected from a diverse field of 48 entries by judges Mark Dapin, Joy Lawn, Piers Grove and Bernard Cohen. 

Chair of the judging panel, author and journalist Mark Dapin commented: “It’s wonderful that a piece of writing that is both culturally and politically important – and written to be performed –should also be laugh-out-loud funny on the printed page.”

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 Hill, to celebrate, recognise and encourage the humour writing genre.

“Laughter is often the medicine that helps us swallow the harder times and keeps us moving forward and adapting. In our current environment humour is more important than ever, so read spoonfuls and keep yourself healthy on the inside!” Rachel Hill said at the 2021 awards announcement.

The inaugural $5,000 Humour Writing for Young People Award, offered for a published work intended for readers between the ages of 5 and 12, was awarded via an online ceremony this morning.

The panel of junior judges selected Philip Bunting’s Wombat (Scholastic Australia) as the winner, describing it as a ‘magical journey through “wombatmanity” with marvellously naive illustrations and captivatingly rhythmic prose’

Source: Media Release

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