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Open Right

Hannie Rayson

Author, Corporate, Curriculum Specialist, Speaking Out

Hannie Rayson is a multi-award winning playwright who has a reputation for topical complex dramas written with wit and insight. She is an accomplished public speaker – funny, incisive and thoughtful.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Sexual politics, class, families and Australian identity.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Attending opening nights of my plays in the West End and other theatres in London, Paris, Tokyo, Montreal and New Zealand.

Being nominated for the Miles Franklin Award – the only playwright ever to be nominated for a play.

Having Two Brothers read at the prestigious (George Bernard) Shaw Festival in Canada.

Also, having Extinction read at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in September 2012. This is the first Australian play to be commissioned by The Manhattan Theatre Club in partnership with the Sloan Foundation.

What are you passionate about?

Justice and tolerance. The power and beauty of language. The potential of literature and theatre to effect social change.

Haven’t I seen you before?

My plays are produced regularly at the Melbourne Theatre Company and in the flagship companies in other states. I have been a columnist and contributor to The Age. I have launched many books and been a keynote /after dinner speaker at conferences and literary/theatre events. You may have seen me presenting at The Wheeler Centre or at Rotunda in the West. I am a regular panelist or convenor at Writers’ Festivals around Australia.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Andrew Bolt described Two Brothers as ‘a smug vomit of hate’.

Image credit: David Connelly, Living Image Photography


This was an absolute winner, Hannie Rayson accompanied by her husband Michael Cathcart were entertaining, fun and totally engaging. It was a real treat to have them both, loved the way Michael interviewed Hannie and the conversation back and forth. It was such a lovely afternoon and one of our best events so far. Not a huge crowd but the ones that came thoroughly enjoyed it.

—Jenny Mustey, Campaspe Regional Library, December 2017

We had Hannie Rayson speak with our Year 12 Literature students today, and I just wanted to let you know that she was wonderful.

She gave a compelling and personal insight into her play Two Brothers, and I know the students found this invaluable. It was an absolute pleasure to hear Hannie speak and have her answer questions which have been consuming the students for some time now. It was such a fabulous opportunity and I highly recommend Hannie – I cannot sing her praises highly enough.

—C. Wade, Billanook College, September 2013

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