Famous Australian Playwrights

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 1 
Thomas Keneally
(Writer, Playwright, Novelist, Actor, Author)
Thomas Keneally
8
Birthdate: October 7, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sydney

Initially a Catholic deacon, Thomas Keneally quit the Church later and stepped into writing. Best known for his historical novels such as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and Gossip from the Forest, he also won a Booker Prize for Schindler's Ark, which was inspired by the Holocaust.

 2 
Andrew Upton
(Film director, Screenwriter, Librettist)
Andrew Upton
142
Birthdate: February 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Australia

Andrew Upton is an Australian playwright, screenwriter, and director known for creating an adaptation of Maxim Gorky's The Philistines for the Royal National Theatre in London. He has also written critically-acclaimed original plays. He is married to actress Cate Blanchett, with whom he runs a film production company. Upton was honored with the Rotary Professional Excellence Award in 2014. 

 3 
Patrick White
(Australian Writer)
Patrick White
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Knightsbridge, London, England
Died: September 30, 1990

Patrick White was an Australian writer whose fictional works incorporated stream of consciousness techniques, shifting narrative vantage points, florid prose, and humor. In 1973, he became the first Australian to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Over the course of his illustrious career, White published 12 novels, eight plays, and three short-story collections.

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 4 
Brendan Cowell
(Actor)
Brendan Cowell
140
Birthdate: August 16, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cronulla

Brendan Cowell was 8 when, while waiting for his sister outside her dance rehearsal venue, he was spotted and cast in a commercial. After acting for a while, he found success as a playwright with award-winning plays such as Bed. He was also seen as Harrag in Game of Thrones.

 5 
Toby Schmitz
(Actor)
Toby Schmitz
139
Birthdate: May 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Perth

Best known as pirate Calico Jack Rackham from the series Black Sails, Australian actor Toby Schmitz has also penned award-winning plays such as Lucky. Initially aspiring to be a lawyer, he later switched to theater and appeared on stage in many Sydney Theatre Company productions.

 6 
David Malouf
(Australian Poet, Novelist, Short Story Writer and Playwright)
David Malouf
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia

David Malouf is an Australian writer widely recognized as one of the country’s greatest writers. He graduated from the University of Queensland and taught for a while. He began writing seriously in the 1970s and became a well-known author within years. He received the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature in 2016. 

 7 
David Williamson
(Australian Playwright)
David Williamson
136
Birthdate: February 24, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

A qualified engineer, David Williamson taught mechanical engineering and then social psychology, before he took up writing full-time. The famous playwright and screenwriter gained recognition with the absurdist film The Removalists and plays such as Heretic. He has won multiple Australian Film Institute Awards for his screenplays.

 8 
Christos Tsiolkas
(Australian Author Best Known for His Novel 'The Slap')
Christos Tsiolkas
134
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Christos Tsiolkas is an Australian author best known for his novel The Slap. He is an internationally acclaimed author with numerous commercially successful books to his name. He is the recipient of the 2021 Melbourne Prize for Literature. Many of his books have been adapted for film and television. He is openly gay and often writes about homosexuality.  

 9 
Dorothy Hewett
(Poet)
Dorothy Hewett
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Died: August 1, 2002

Dorothy Hewett was an Australian feminist poet, novelist, and playwright, often credited to be one of Australia's best-loved and most respected writers. She studied English at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and wrote for a Communist newspaper under a pseudonym. Over time, she established herself as a prominent author of feminist literature. She received the Christopher Brennan Award.

 10 
Marcus Clarke
(Australian Novelist Best Known for His 1874 Novel 'For the Term of His Natural Life')
Marcus Clarke
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England
Died: August 2, 1881

Marcus Clarke was a 19th-century English-born Australian novelist, journalist, poet, editor,  and playwright. His novel For the Term of His Natural Life is considered a classic of Australian literature and has been adapted into many plays and films. He became a major literary figure at a young age but was plagued by numerous issues, leading to his early death.  

 11 
Jack Davis
(One of Australia’s Most Influential Aboriginal Authors)
Jack Davis
128
Birthdate: March 11, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Died: March 17, 2000

Jack Davis was an Australian Aboriginal poet and playwright considered one of “Australia’s most influential Aboriginal authors.” Also an Aboriginal Australian activist, he wrote extensively on themes related to Aboriginality and the Aboriginal experience. His work is included in the curriculum of many Australian schools. Davis was honoured with the Order of Australia Award in 1985. 

 12 
Ray Lawler
(Australian Actor, Producer, and Playwright)
Ray Lawler
1
Birthdate: May 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Footscray, Australia

Ray Lawler is an Australian dramatist, actor, director, and producer. He is best known for his tenth play Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Premiered in 1955, the play is credited with changing the direction of Australian drama. Lawler, a theatre space at the Southbank Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria, is named in his honor.

 13 
Vance Palmer
(Australian Novelist, Dramatist and Essayist)
Vance Palmer
1
Birthdate: August 28, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bundaberg, Australia
Died: July 15, 1959

Vance Palmer was an Australian novelist, dramatist, essayist, and critic. He loved to write from a young age and studied contemporary writing at the School of Arts. Later on, he married Nettie Higgins and they began to publish short stories, poetry, and criticism together. Palmer’s best-known work is The Legend of the Nineties. 

 14 
Kylie Tennant
(Australian Novelist, Playwright, Short-Story Writer and Biographer)
Kylie Tennant
1
Birthdate: March 12, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manly, Australia
Died: February 28, 1988

Author Kylie Tennant won the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize with her first novel, Tiburon. She is also known for her novel The Battlers, apart from her travel writing and children’s books. Initially a journalist, she later conducted her own research on the downtrodden sections of Australia for her novels.

 15 
Alex Miller
(Australian Novelist Best Known for His Novel 'Autumn Laing')
Alex Miller
132
Birthdate: December 27, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Alex Miller is an Australian novelist best known for his novel Autumn Laing. He received the Melbourne Prize for Literature for this book in 2012. He studied at the University of Melbourne and became a teacher and writer. He has published many novels that have received critical acclaim all over the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards. 

 16 
Mudrooroo
(Novelist)
Mudrooroo
133
Birthdate: August 21, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Narrogin, Australia
Died: January 20, 2019

Colin Johnson, better known as Mudrooroo, had been raised in an orphanage and was later imprisoned for burglary. After beginning to write in prison, he spent some time as a monk in India. Best known for bestsellers such as Wild Cat Falling, he focused on Aboriginal characters and their issues.

 17 
Hal Porter
(Australian Novelist, Playwright, Poet and Short Story Writer)
Hal Porter
134
Birthdate: February 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Albert Park, Australia
Died: September 29, 1984

Hal Porter emerged as a writer during the WWII with a collection of short stories. However, it took him few more years to establish himself as a successful author, publishing his best work, a memoir entitled The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony, in 1963.  Also a successful poet and novelist he was made an AM for service to literature.