Bachelor of Arts 2014
Alumna Violet Macdonald won the prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting Award at the 47th International Emmy Awards.
The award is given to a non-American novice writer under 30 for a half-hour to one-hour drama script.
The talented young writer grew up in Tasmania and recently relocated from the UK to Canada so she could pursue her dream of writing full-time.
How does it feel to receive high-profile and prestigious international recognition for your work?
It's an absolute honour. I didn't realise that when you win an award at that level, you basically end up representing your country on an international stage. Loads of people at the gala were asking me about my background and my thoughts on the Australian TV industry - it was such a surreal and amazing conversation to be having.
You continued to study your Bachelor of Arts at University of Tasmania online, despite moving away to the UK. Why did you decide to study arts and how do you think it helped you?
I've always written, so studying English Literature was kind of a natural progression for me for university. I got super interested in the theoretical side of literature as I studied, and ended up with a double major in Philosophy as well. Studying the two subjects together definitely helped me to think about stories from all different kinds of perspectives, and then to be able to turn that into a creative work.
How did growing up on a small island like Tasmania shape your perspective and writing?
I definitely think that growing up in a pretty isolated part of the world changes your perspective on many things. When you leave, it's rare to find people who understand quite what it's like to live so far from the rest of the world, both in literal terms of location and time zones, but also very specific social groups which are unique to Tasmania. When I moved to the UK I had no specific political affiliations or particular sports teams I supported, and it was interesting to see those kinds of social clusters from an outside perspective. I think growing up slightly separated like that, you're more naturally inclined to notice differences and question how they've come about. That's an extremely useful tool for a writer.
What do you tell people about your island home when you travel around the world?
I tell them to go visit! I love Tasmania and hope to return for a visit sometime in the near future. I actually never went to MONA, which opened after I left in 2009, and that's the first thing people ask me about. But I tell them to visit Mures for their fisherman's baskets, Jackman & McRoss for pretty much everything they make, and to take a drive up to Dunnalley beach and stop over for the fresh fruit from the local farms. Honestly, I think I spend most of my time talking about the food more than anything! I've travelled to a lot of different countries around the world and nothing beats it.
Can you describe the plot of your award-winning script?
The Wolf is a 1-hour drama pilot loosely based on a true story. Everybody loves Dorothy, the sweet old woman who runs a boarding house for recently released criminals. But when a young man comes to stay in her home, it soon turns out that she may not be as innocent as she appears... I can't say too much more without spoiling things, but hopefully you'll see it on the screen soon!
What’s the next step for you in terms of your career?
It's too early to say yet, but I'm talking to a few different production companies across Australia and other countries about the script, and I've also been offered a scholarship for film school in Canada. So I have no idea yet where my path will lead me yet - but it's definitely going in the right direction!
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