By Mary Anne ButlerDrama Currency Press


A car crash in the Central Desert. A broken man, about to leave his wife, who has a deep, dark secret of her own. Broken entwines the stories of three complex lives as they unfold on a single fateful night in the heart of the NT’s desert country.  

Portrait of Mary Anne Butler

Mary Anne Butler

Mary Anne Butler is a Darwin-based playwright. Her feature screenplay Hopetown won the 2012 NT Literary Award Birch Carroll and Coyle Screenwriting Award, and Dragons won the 2010 Darwin Festival Best Script Award. Mary Anne’s play Highway of Lost Hearts (Currency Press) premiered at the 2012 Darwin Festival to a sold-out season, a 2013 return season, and 2014 three-month national tour funded by playing Australia.

Mary Anne is a 2014 Churchill Fellow, member of the Australian Writers’ Guild Playwrights’ Committee and peer advisor to the Australia Council for the Arts. She holds a Masters of Philosophy (Creative Writing) from the University of Queensland, and a Masters of Arts Education (Theatre in Education) from UNE.

Judges’ report

Australia’s top end – the land and its people – comes alive with tension, sadness, and humour in this extremely well crafted work. The evocation of an Aussie bloke in the play is both old fashioned on some levels (laconic, competent, rough) and new (emotionally intelligent, educated, kind) and the other two characters are equally well drawn.

The emotional journey is beautifully plotted and moving, with an opening sequence that is theatrically alive and full of inventive dramatic links – played out in a great, dark expanse of earth beneath the stars – and a finale that draws its power from the claustrophobic domestic environment of the family home.


Read the excerpt (7 pages, PDF)

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist