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Pig Girl (print) by Colleen Murphy

Winner of the 2014 Carol Bolt Award

Winner of the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama

GG Jury  Citation: "Colleen Murphy weaves a masterfully structured examination of humanity within our most inhumane moments. Pig Girl forces us to relentlessly bear witness to a single night of horror that echoes the silenced ongoing violence against women. Difficult and harrowing, it asks us to acknowledge our collective responsibility. Arresting. Undeniable. Unforgettable.”

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Pig Girl (print)

At 4:00 a.m. on a secluded farm, a woman fights to take her life back from a serial killer as her desperate sister and a haunted police officer reach across time and distance in an attempt to rescue her.

“ . . . a deeply feminist, profoundly political work.”—Alex Ramon, Public Reviews, London UK

“Murphy’s work is refreshingly unpredictable...She is a keen observer, a shrewd and independent-minded analyst. And a terrific writer, with un-showy, economical dialogue, and tightly structured action. . .Building tension, never sensationalizing, or exploiting the suffering of the victim she shows—a bright student sunk into drug-addiction and lured to the farm by promises of new pharmaceuticals—Murphy gives depth to each character.” —Timothy Ramsden, ReviewsGate, London UK

Pig Girl succeeds not only in giving voice to the dead but by vocalising an important social injustice of its own: a missing prostitute is distinctly different from a missing person.” —Alecia Marshall, British Theatre Guide

“ . . . this is unusual theatre, brave and bold and violent and, in its honesty, an opening into a necessary discussion we don’t often force ourselves to have. It’s not preaching a message—Murphy was adamant about that in the interviews leading up to the show—but instead, Pig Girl seems engineered to make you feel this damage more than think about it. (That’s left to you, in its aftermath.) And in that, it’s a stunning, haunting success.” —Paul Blinov, Vue Weekly

“Murphy writes from the heart and with a strong sense of indignation.” —Lyn Gardner, Guardian UK

Colleen Murphy’s Governor General’s Literary Award Acceptance Speech, delivered November 30, 2016, at Rideau Hall, Ottawa

Pig Girl. Horrible title. Horrible crime. So many women killed, so many Indigenous women. Raped, killed, some of their bodies tossed to pigs. A nicer title would trivialize what I imagine those women might have suffered as they fought for their lives.

In my play I imagine a woman who refuses to submit, even while she is dying she fights heroically, not only for her life but also for the meaning of her life. She demands witnesses—to watch her suffering is to honour her suffering, to give it meaning.

The terrible events on that farm shone a light on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada—both are catastrophes—North American examples of the violence against women that exists across the world; violence that must be seen and confronted.

The great playwright Edward Bond said, “If you can’t face Hiroshima in the theatre you eventually end up in Hiroshima itself.” I take that to mean if we cannot face our own catastrophes in the theatre to gain some insight into why they happened then we risk repeating them.

Theatre is a powerful twenty-five-hundred-year-old art form; a living experience that can change the mind and the heart of one human being about another human being by sharing oxygen and breathing together, if only for a moment.

Thank you.


49th Shelf: The Chat with 2016 Governor General's Literary Award Winner Colleen Murphy

CBC Books, Writing in Worried Times: Colleen Murphy is wondering whether it's the dead who keep us alive

Additional Information

Title Pig Girl (print)
ISBN 13 9781770914469
Genre Drama, Women Writers
Contributor(s) Colleen Murphy

Also available as an ebook.


Agent Michael Petrasek at Kensington Literary, (416) 848-9648
Year 2015

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