UOW graduate wins 2014 NSW Premier's Literary Award

Creative Arts graduate Van Badham has added another accolade to her long list of literary achievements by being named as one of the winners of the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

NSW Governor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, made the presentation recently at the State Library of NSW.

Van, already an award-winning writer of more than 50 internationally-produced plays for stage and radio, was announced the winner of the $30,000 Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting for her play, Muff, which challenges ideas of sexuality and empowerment.

Muff continued the young theatre company's determination to present new and challenging work on the Adelaide stage.

Van holds a BCA/BA (Hons) from UOW and recently left a position as Associate Artist at Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre to become a columnist and arts critic for Guardian Australia. She has also been a lecturer in both theatre and screen writing in UOW’s Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, and tutored in visual art theory.

NSW Premier Mike Baird commented at the award ceremony that the literary awards receive hundreds of entries, which is testament to their prestige and relevance and to the importance of reading and literacy in Australia.

In order to be eligible, all works had to have been first published, performed, broadcast or screened between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013.

It is the third significant award for Van this year; her adaptation of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber won Best Production at Melbourne's Greenroom awards, and her "spy-movie play" Notoriously Yours won the Critic's Circle prize for best play at the Adelaide Fringe. Van’s previous plays have had seasons in Australia with companies including Malthouse Theatre, Griffin Theatre, HotHouse and Merrigong, as well as Terrapin, the national puppet company.

She has been the previous recipient of the prestigious Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Drama worth $15,000 with her play that challenges the notion of terrorism.

In the past she has opened shows to packed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival winning over critics in London and Edinburgh. Notoriously Yours will transfer its Adelaide production to Edinburgh this year. 

Van also has an avid interest in writing for cinema and is a published novelist. 

In her younger student days at UOW, Van was elected editor of the Wollongong University Student Association (WUSA) newspaper, Tertangala. She was also President of the New South Wales branch of the National Union of Students.

“I love and cherish my creative arts degree from the University of Wollongong,” Van said. “I am an incredibly proud alumnus and as I’ve grown older my respect for the foundations of my education have deepened. I have relied on my education every day of my professional life.

“I am also living proof that a creative arts degree really can take you anywhere you want to go.”


  • NSW Governor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, presents Van Badham with her Premier’s Literary Award. Photo courtesy: State Library of NSW