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At the 2019 AWGIE AWARDS, writer, actor, and comedian MAGDA SZUBANSKI was awarded the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy. The award recognised the invaluable contribution Magda has made to Australian comedy writing, and the iconic characters she has created in a career spanning some 30 years. Search for Magda Szubanski on YouTube, and you’ll find a Ted Talk, interviews, chats with Lynne and Chenille and (gasp) the return of Sharon Strzelecki. Magda’s tireless championing of the LGBTI push for marriage equality helped to clarify the situation for many people in Australia, who eventually overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to same sex marriage legislation. Magda never gave up, bless her, and she remains one of the country’s most popular and influential people. (Photo by L.J. May S/S)


This is Brisbane! Queensland, Australia

Greetings and welcome to Watchwords. This site is about writers, readers, artists, filmmakers and our beautiful City of Brisbane.







Everyone is invited to have their say on what they'd like to see included in Brisbane's biggest new park in 50 years. It's all part of an exciting plan to transform the Victoria Park Golf Course into a parkland more than double the size of the City Botanic Gardens, with more events and better facilities.

The Brisbane City Council wants to hear your ideas, big or small, out of the box or practical, to help make this a world-class park for the people of Brisbane and visitors to the city. To have your say, visit Council's website and fill out a survey, write a submission and upload photographs or design ideas. You can also speak face-to-face with Council's project team at pop-up information days. Consultation closes on Sunday, 29 September 2019.

Go to VICTORIA PARK VISION at for more information and a video.


To help you come up with ideas, Council will be holding a Victoria Park Party on Sunday, 22 September 2019 from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. at Victoria Park, 290 Gilchrist Avenue, Herston. The 18-hole golf course will be closed, so come along and take advantage of the opportunity to explore the entire site, enjoy the entertainment, and share your ideas.

There will be live music, food trucks, workshops, entertainers, and lots of fun activities for kids. Watch out for appearances from Dirt Girl, and the artistic directors of the phenomenal Australian hit Bluey, with talks and episodes. Go to for more information and a map.

Back in the 1800s, the area now covered by Victoria Park, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Brisbane Showgrounds, was known as Barrambin (York’s Hollow). Groups of up to 800 Aboriginal people from the Brisbane and Moreton Bay clans gathered there for ceremonial and trading purposes. At the Victoria Park Party, you can enjoy Virtual Songlines – a VR experience where participants can see what inner-city Brisbane and the surrounding area would have looked like to Aboriginal folk all those years ago.

Be in it to win some great prizes just by discovering the park! There’s a family getaway to Tangalooma Island Resort or a Yalingbila whale watching tour to be won and more. Pick up and complete your passport to go in the draw. Easiest way to get to Victoria Park is to travel to the event using public transport – the Inner Northern Busway stops off at Herston. Visit Translink to plan your trip.


The Brisbane City Council plans to get residents home quicker and safer by providing FREE OFF-PEAK TRAVEL FOR SENIORS, which will create more opportunities for older residents to move around the city and connect with family and friends.

The free off-peak travel for eligible Senior go card holders will apply from Tuesday, 1 October 2019 on Brisbane buses, CityCats and ferries from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., and from 7.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. Monday to Friday, and also on buses all day and night on weekends. Read More here


Revel in a great Queensland experience! The BRISBANE FESTIVAL 2019 will present an astonishing array of events to inform, entertain and delight you in multiple venues across Brisbane, including South Bank. The Festival runs for three weeks from Friday, 6 September to Saturday, 28 September 2019. To check out the program by genre, date, venue, and accessibility, go to

Prepare yourself for some amazing performances and spectacular exhibitions during the Festival. Get in on the action and head for some of the multiple venues to see big name acts, more world premieres than ever before, and a spectacular new light-and-laser river show that will illuminate Brisbane for 22 days of celebration. Go to the top and bottom of COMPETITIONS ETC. (4 pages) for pics and event information.

There is a mix of free and ticketed events. To book your tickets for most Brisbane Festival 2019 events, call Qtix on 136 246 or visit the Brisbane Festival website at On the BrisFest website you will also find directions about how to book for events at the Theatre Republic (La Boite Box Office), The Tivoli and King Street (Tivoli Box Office) and the Riverstage ( – you can also take your chances at the gate for those events, but you’d be wise to book online if you’re really keen on getting in).

As per usual, the Brisbane Festival will be capped off with the eagerly awaited SUNSUPER RIVERFIRE on Saturday, 28 September 2019. The entertainment at South Bank kicks off on Saturday afternoon at 4.00 p.m., with Australian Defence Force activities, including RAAF Super Hornet and Army helicopter displays late in the afternoon and evening, subject to availability.

RIVERFIRE will feature one of the most technically challenging and spectacular fireworks displays in Australia set to an almighty soundtrack celebrating 1989, Riverstage’s birthday year. The dazzling extravaganza will be fired by Foti Fireworks Queensland from multiple bridges, barges and city rooftops, with aerobatics from the Australian Defence Force.

Crowds on site can tune in to Triple M’s live broadcast or, if you can’t get to a vantage point, you can watch Channel Nine’s exclusive television coverage. See more details about what’s happening in the WHAT'S ON NOW? pages.


The locals love it and visitors travel from all over the country and overseas to be part of it. The 10-day program of THE TOOWOOMBA CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS 2019 will feature a host of unique events and experiences, including the HERITAGE BANK FESTIVAL OF FOOD AND WINE. TCOF is happening in the City of Toowoomba (about 129 km west of Brisbane via the Warrego Highway – the A2) from Friday, 20 September to Sunday, 29 September 2019.

Experience 10 breathtaking days of flowers, flavours and sounds, with a program of more than 70 unique events, including award-winning parks, stunning private gardens, a street parade bursting with floral colour, internationally acclaimed musical acts, some of the best food and wine to be found in Queensland, and a multitude of cultural and natural adventures. Go to for a program of events and the WHAT'S ON NOW? (5 pages) for pics and information

For those who don’t know, the City of Toowoomba is located in Southern Queensland, just a 90 minute drive from Brisbane. The city is 129km west of Brisbane via the Warrego Highway (A2). How do you get there? You can get there by Air, Coach Transfers and Self Drive Itineraries.

TCOF organizers have made available some suggested self-drive itineraries with maps to help you to enjoy the journey before you reach your Carnival destination! They include a Brisbane to Toowoomba Scenic Drive, Gold Coast to Toowoomba Mountain Discovery Scenic Drive, and a Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba Scenic Drive. Go to the website at to download these itineraries as a pdf.  


Find information and pictures of EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND BRISBANE AND QUEENSLAND on EVENT QUICKLISTS!, EVENT QUICKLISTS! P2, and WHERE IS BRISBANE?. See NEWS PAGE 2 for special spaces and events happening during the BRISBANE WRITERS FESTIVAL (BWF). Go to the top and bottom of WHAT'S ON AUTHORS? (4 pages) for more pics and information about authors and events at the BWF. Visit COMPETITIONS ETC. (4 pages) for BRISBANE FESTIVAL pictures and events. See pics and information at the top and bottom of the WHAT'S ON NOW? (5 pages) for pics and information on THE CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS, blooming beautifully in Toowoomba during September.


The 52ND ANNUAL AWGIE AWARDS were held on Thursday, 22 August at the City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney, Australia. The AWGIE Awards recognise and reward the outstanding achievements of Australian storytellers and their contribution to Australia's cultural landscape. These prestigious awards are the only industry awards given by writers to writers and are judged exclusively on the basis of the writer's own vision, the script. 

Writers of The Harp in the South, The Favourite, True History of the Kelly Gang, and The Cry were among the winners

Playwright KATE MULVANYS EPIC and acclaimed stage adaptation of the Australian classic The Harp in the South took out the highest honour of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual AWGIE Awards, the 2019 MAJOR AWARD. On a night celebrating the enduring art of storytelling and the exceptional craft and creativity of Australia’s top writers, Mulvany’s win captured the spirit of the 2019 Awards, where beloved and iconic Australian stories and rich, bold works with global reach were honoured in equal measure. 

This was evident in the feature film categories, where the Oscar-nominated tour-de-force of wit and historical satire, The Favourite,garnered TONY MCNAMARA an Award for best original script with co-writer DEBORAH DAVIS, while SHAUN GRANT’S upcoming True History of the Kelly Gang took home the Award for adaptation. 

The Harp in the South has been heralded as breathing new life into the beloved novel by Ruth Park, and earlier in the evening it received the AWGIE Award in the stage category as well as the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre, awarded each year to the most outstanding script selected from the winners of each of the theatre categories.

The Prize is worth $100,000, with $20,000 of the prize awarded to the playwright of the winning theatre script, and $80,000 of the prize going to the theatre company that commissioned and developed it for the stage, with the express purpose of the prize money being used to commission, develop and program a new Australian work. 

‘The breadth of our nominees and winners is tremendous,’ said AWG CEO, JACQUELINE ELAINE. ‘Last year a seven-minute dialogue-free animation took out our top award, and this year the extraordinary effort behind a six-hour stage adaptation. What a delightful example of the diversity and range characteristic of Australia’s screen and stage writers.’ 

At the 2019 AWGIE AWARDS, writer, actor, and comedian MAGDA SZUBANSKI was awarded the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy, recognising the invaluable contribution she has made to Australian comedy writing, and the iconic characters created, in a career spanning over 30 years. Long-standing Australian Writers’ Guild member PATRICK EDGEWORTH was made a Life Member. 

Other 2019 AWGIE Award winners   

  • Andrew Knight won Television – Series or Miniseries of more than 4 hours duration for Jack Irish: Season 2, Episode 1 
  • Jacquelin Perske won Television – Telemovie or Miniseries of 4 hours or less duration for The Cry 
  • Hannah and Eliza Reilly won the Web Series category for Sheilas: 'Nancy Wake – WW2 Spy' and 'Mary Ann Bugg – Bushranger' 
  • Tim Minchin won the AWGIE for Comedy – Situation or Narrative for his upcoming series Upright 
  • Joel Slack-Smith and Heidi Regan with Nazeem Hussain, Richard Thorp, Penny Greenhalgh and Sophie Braham took home the AWGIE Award for Comedy – Sketch or Light Entertainment for Orange is the New Brown: Episode 1 
  • Jason Herbison took home the Television – Serial Award for episode 8052 of Neighbours 
  • Alison James won the AWGIE for Short Film with Judas Collar  
  • Ben Lawrence won the Documentary – Public Broadcast or Exhibition category for Ghosthunter 
  • The Documentary – Community, Educational and Training category was awarded to The Carnival of Consequence by George Catsi 
  • Alix Beane won Children’s Television – C Classification for Mustangs FC: ‘Pity Party’, and 
  • The Interactive Media category was won by Lucas Taylor for Eleven Eleven 

In the theatre and audio categories, winners were:  

  • Noëlle Janaczewska for Yellow Yellow Sometimes Blue, in the Community and Youth Theatre category 
  • Vanessa Bates for A Ghost in My Suitcase in Theatre for Young Audiences, and 
  • Emily Steel for 19 Weeks in Audio. 

For the full list of AWGIE winners click here. For the full list of AWGIE nominees click here. Email Shannen Usher at if you have any questions. (Thanks to the AWG for this information).


The future of support for Australian playwright development is in jeopardy. We need your help. At the 2019 AWGIE Awards, Kate Mulvany scooped up the Stage Award, the David Williamson Prize and the Major Award for her extraordinary adaptation of Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South.  

In her acceptance, Kate said, ‘Thank you to the Australian Writers’ Guild for keeping Australian stories alive. It has been a particularly difficult time over the last few months to see so many of our beloved playwriting organisations get brutally defunded or shut down. But we playwrights are a noisy, naughty bunch. There’s still so much to say. And we will continue to, furiously and fabulously.’

In this spirit, the AWG invites all playwrights and those who have a vested interest in their support and success to have their say. The demoralising news that our colleagues at Australian Plays were unsuccessful in securing four-year funding came at a time when playwrights were already grappling with uncertainty over the future of Playwriting Australia.

The AWG is deeply concerned about the impact of cuts to the Australia Council’s funding, and the dramatic cuts to the support infrastructure for the professional development of playwrights. We want to harness the energy and experience of our members and the theatre community to help us respond to this crisis in a focussed and representative way. 

With this aim, the AWG has created an online safe space for our members, other playwrights, and their supporters to register their opinions and ideas; anonymously if preferred. Playwriting Australia has agreed to receive submissions to its review that are made via the AWG in this way, including anonymous submissions.

This enables us to provide a conduit for those who wish to make a submission to the review of Playwriting Australia but want to maintain anonymity, and for those who wish to have their submissions to the review recorded with the Guild as well as with PWA’s consultant.

We can then consider the recommendations which come out of the PWA review alongside the contributions which have been made to us. We can also harness and promote these ideas when engaging in future work advocating on behalf of playwrights in the fight for a properly considered and funded support infrastructure for playwright development. Click here to access AWG’s online form. If you would like to know more, please contact the AWG at



See NEWS PAGE 2 for more information on special spaces and events during the BRISBANE WRITERS FESTIVAL – running Thursday, 5 September to Sunday, 8 September 2019. 


12. Sep, 2019
See THE NEWS above for the exciting events happening in Brisbane and around Queensland. As usual, during September 2019, there are COMPETITIONS to enter and OPPORTUNITIES for creators, as well as AUTHORS to meet, WORKSHOPS to attend, and GENERAL EVENTS to go to – most events are FREE or LOW COST.
THE BRISBANE WRITERS FESTIVAL – WHERE STORIES LIVE: Thursday, 5 September to Sunday, 8 September 2019. ‘Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ – Gene Fowler. The Brisbane Writers Festival is a showcase for those who are bloodied but unbowed, and the readers who love them. ZOE POLLOCK, CEO and Artistic Director of BWF 2019 says: ‘At the very heart of what it means to be human is story. For 57 years the Brisbane Writers Festival has celebrated humans who render theirs and the stories of those around them in words… Writers, by nature of their work, pause. They contemplate our world, spend hours, days, months, even years with their topics and become experts in what they choose to discover on the page. This Festival celebrates and champions that work. I invite you to join us this September in pausing, reflecting and taking the time to enjoy what writers have to offer the world.’ Most BWF events will take place in and around the Cultural Precinct at the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, on Stanley Place, South Brisbane. As well as ticketed events, in 2019 the program includes over 25 free events through Love YA, In Your Suburb, and the main Festival. Go to the website at to find out what’s on, or pick up a hard copy of the program at your local BCC Library. (Banner courtesy of BWF)