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RSL x Black to BLAK: Paterson Joseph and Leah Purcell + Screening of The Drover’s Wife 15

Screened in partnership with Royal Society of Literature
Leah Purcell, Austrailia, 2020, 109m.

The Royal Society of Literature brings you the first event in a series devised by RSL Honorary Fellow, Deirdre Osborne.


Prior to the film there will be a recorded conversation between actor and author Paterson Joseph, winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize, and actor, director, author and playwright, Leah Purcell, alongside a screening of Leah’s film, The Drover’s Wife.


Paterson Joseph is a beloved British actor and writer. Recently seen on Vigil and Noughts and Crosses, he has also starred in Peep Show and Law & Order UK and he plays Arthur Slugworth in the forthcoming Wonka movie. The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho is his debut novel. It won the 2023 Christopher Bland Prize.


Leah Purcell is one of Australia’s leading actors, with award-winning roles in theatre, film, and television. She is a proud Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman from QLD. The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson was Leah’s feature film directorial debut. In addition to starring in the leading role of Molly Johnson, Leah also wrote and produced the film with her own production company Oombarra Productions and Bunya Productions. Leah won the 2022 AACTA award for Best Lead Actress in Film for her performance. The film had 13 AACTA nominations, 2 ADG nominations (Winning Best Debut Feature Film) and had one AWG nomination for the Screenplay.


The Drover's Wife:

In 1893, heavily pregnant Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell) and her children struggle to survive in the harsh Australian outback after her husband leaves to drove sheep in the high country. One day, she finds an escaped Indigenous Australian convict (Rob Collins) wounded on her property and an unlikely bond begins to form between them. Meanwhile, new town lawman Nate Clintoff realises that Molly's husband is missing and sends his constable to investigate. A thrilling tale that explores racism and misogyny under colonial rule, and a labour of love for writer-director-star Purcell, who has also adapted Henry Lawson’s short story into a play and a novel.


Event Timings:

Pre-recorded conversation between Paterson Joseph & Leah Purcell (52 mins)

Drink Break

Film (109 mins)


Royal Society of Literature is a charity that celebrates writing of all kinds, and supports writers and readers at every stage.


RSL Members and Fellows can register for the event for free


In partnership with MA Black British Literature and the London Australian Film Society



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