Multi-award-winning playwright Mary Anne Butler has won the Stage category of the inaugural Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize for Playwriting with her play Wittenoom, while John Armstrong has taken out the Theatre For Young Audience category with Ali in Zombieland.

Mary Anne Butler. Photo Courtesy of Currency Press

Supported by Australian Plays Transform, the Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize was launched in December 2021 with the aim of discovering and rewarding new Australian plays. Butler and Armstrong are taking home $10,000, while a further 11 longlisted writers share a total of $40,000.

Reflecting on the announcement, Butler said, “I am utterly honoured and humbled that Wittenoom has received this prize, and would like to acknowledge and thank Shane and Cathryn Brennan for their continued championing of Australian writers and writing, particularly new writing. I want to thank the Australian Writers’ Guild for their continued advocacy and growing initiatives for playwrights, and also thank the judges for recognising Wittenoom as worthy of this prize.”

Originally inspired by the Midnight Oil song Blue Sky Mine, Wittenoom is named after the former blue asbestos mining...