Belvoir announces The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award
The day after the Queensland government scrapped the Queensland Premier's Literary Award, which included the Award for an Unpublished Indigenous Writer, the David Unaipon Award, Belvoir has announced The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright's Award. Neil Balnaves AO of The Balnaves Foundation made an impassioned speech at the launch decrying governments' lack of support for the arts.
'I find it an absolute contradiction that they can play with the soul of this country, in all forms of the arts, in this case literary and with an Indigenous slant, and in their minds they think this is clever. It sends the wrong signal and it puts more pressure on people like me who are giving away the large majority of our wealth simply because politicians aren't doing enough for this country. I'm not doing it because I want to be a hero; I'm doing it to address the shortfall from government.'
In launching the award, Rachael Maza, Artistic Director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company and one of the award judges, said 'This initiative is particularly exciting because it's not just an award, there's prize money attached to it, and the incredibly exciting aspect of this award is the commission so the writer can give up the coffee pulling job and write.'
Maza will be joined on the judging panel by the Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company Wesley Enoch and the Literary Manager of Belvoir Anthea Williams.
The award will comprise of a $7,500 cash prize and a $12,500 commission to write a new play with the support of Belvoir.