S. Shakthidharan’s Counting and Cracking , an epic play encompassing four generations of a Sri Lankan family, has received Australia’s richest literary award, the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature, at this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Shared with associate writer Eamon Flack, who also directed the acclaimed production for Belvoir and Co-Curious, the pair also took home the $25,000 Prize for Drama. It marks only the second time a play has received both awards after Leah Purcell’s double win in 2017 for The Drover’s Wife.

S. Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack. Photograph © Ken Leanfore

Counting and Crackingis a play of great scope and sweep – taking place as it does over several international locations and time periods, folding in a nation’s rawest wounds and crises – that also manages to speak intimately of the ties that bind people within and between cultures. Highly ambitious and wonderfully assured, it is a post-colonial work of sublime generosity and humour; a sober reflection of the painful path our peoples have taken to reach our shores, and a grand and moving celebration of cultural diversity and human spirit.”

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