Skip to content
Culture & Religion

Are Plays Literature?

David Jays speculates on why no play was shortlisted for a recent major literary award. Is theater too “brazenly collaborative and transient ” for the literary gatekeepers?
Sign up for The Nightcrawler Newsletter
A weekly collection of thought-provoking articles on tech, innovation, and long-term investing from Nightview Capital’s Eric Markowitz.

David Jays was surprised that last month no play was shortlisted for a major Australian literary award because the judges couldn’t find a worthy nomination. He ponders what should be valued in literature and whether theater’s “brazenly collaborative and transient nature” spooks the literary gatekeepers. Jays says a script may not be the whole story, but that doesn’t make it un-literary, and, after all, surely literature should be about engagement. “Do bodies and voices compromise a literary work? Is a poem no longer literature if it is read aloud?” “Plays remind us that literature is warm, mutable and human.”


Up Next