Play ‘Counting and Cracking’ wins $100k Victorian Prize for Literature
Sydney playwright S Shakthidharan and associate writer Eamon Flack have won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for their play Counting and Cracking (Belvoir and Co-Curious) at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLAs).
The play, which follows a Sri Lankan family across four generations, was also awarded the $25,000 drama prize. It previously won seven Helpmann Awards and played to sold-out audiences at Sydney Town Hall.
The VPLA judges described Counting and Cracking as ‘a post-colonial work of sublime generosity and humour; a sober reflection of the painful path our peoples have taken to reach our shores, and a grand and moving celebration of cultural diversity and human spirit.’
The winning titles in each category are:
- Damascus (Christos Tsiolkas, A&U)
- Sea People: The puzzle of Polynesia (Christina Thompson, HarperCollins)
- Nganajungu Yagu (Charmaine Papertalk Green, Cordite Books)
- How It Feels to Float (Helena Fox, Pan Macmillan)
Prize for an unpublished manuscript
- ‘Hovering’ by Rhett Davis
People’s choice award
- The Girls (Chloe Higgins, Picador).
The winners were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on 30 January. The winner of each category is awarded $25,000, except for the unpublished manuscript prize winner, who receives $15,000, and the winner of the people’s choice award, who is awarded $2000.
Last year, writer, journalist and Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani won the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador).
(Pictured, L–R: S Shakthidharan, Helena Fox, Christos Tsiolkas, Rhett Davis, Chloe Higgins, Charmaine Papertalk Green; credit: Hashem McAdam)