Malcolm Robertson writers program

Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation

Malthouse Theatre’s Malcolm Robertson Writers Program comissions two emerging artists per year to write a new Australian work for theatre.  The aim is to increase the commissioned output of work by emerging Australian playwrights, and providing real development and presentation pathways within the support structures of a major theatre company.

Australian novelist Maxine Beneba Clarke and emerging playwright Osamah Sami have been selected as the inaugural Malcolm Robertson Writers Program participants for 2017. Both Maxine and Osamah are being commissioned to adapt for stage their critically acclaimed memoirs, The Hate Race and Good Muslim Boy.

Maxine Beneba Clarke 

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian novelist from Afro-Caribbean descent. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of Year 2015, and her latest publication, a memoir titled The Hate Race, has received wide critical acclaim.

Maxine Beneba Clarke will be venturing into the form of theatre, adapting her memoir The Hate Race to the stage in collaboration with writer Erik Jensen. The Hate Race is structured around 24 incidences during Maxine’s childhood and teen years in suburban Australia where she learnt she was different because of one, inescapable thing - her race. Ultimately, her memoir is about those who have stories that have been invisible in the ‘growing up’ narratives of Australia, and a call to arms for how Australia needs to deeply change.

Osamah Sami

Osamah Sami is an Australian actor, writer and comedian, born in war-torn Iran to Iraqi parents. His critically acclaimed memoir Good Muslim Boy was the Winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and Highly Commended at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. He has appeared in over a dozen film and theatre productions, including the lead opposite Claudia Karvan in Tony Ayres’ telemovie Saved. While an accomplished performer, Osamah has approached Malthouse Theatre to explore writing for theatre and to make his debut as an emerging playwright.

Osamah will be commissioned to adapt Good Muslim Boy to the stage, and will collaborate with director Janice Muller throughout the year of development supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation to shape this story into one that shares Osamah’s story directly and viscerally with an audience.

Proudly supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.