Benjamin LawScreenwriter | Author | Co-EP

Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based screenwriter, author, journalist and presenter.

His poignant, familial modern comedy play, Torch The Place, premiered at the Melbourne Theatre Company to great critical success at the beginning of 2020. Benjamin is the co-creator and writer of upcoming Netflix series Wellmania, based on the novel Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness by author and journalist Brigid Delaney.

Benjamin’s most recent television credit is the 2021 SBS Drama series New Gold Mountain, for which Benjamin won a 2021 AWGIE award in the Miniseries category. New Gold Mountain portrays the Australian Gold Rush through the perspective of Chinese miners. Other recent television credits include Network Ten’s drama Sisters and the two-part documentary Waltzing the Dragon, which considers the ‘sweet and sour’ China-Australia relationship (ABC). Benjamin developed and presented the documentary alongside his larger-than-life mother.

The television adaptation of his first book The Family Law was created and co-written by Benjamin. The first season of The Family Law was the most-watched program on SBS in 2016. The Family Law returned for two further seasons, winning two Equity Ensemble Awards for Best Comedy Ensemble and a Screen Producers Association Award for Best Comedy.

Benjamin was an associate producer on the documentary Deep Water: The Real Story, which details the gay hate crime epidemic that bloodied Sydney’s coastline in the 1980s and 90s. It was a companion piece to the Blackfella Films dramatized series Deep Water, starring Yael Stone and Noah Taylor.

Benjamin holds a PhD in television writing and cultural studies. He is a celebrated author, having written the books The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012), both of which were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. Benjamin co-authored the comedy Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his playwright / screenwriter / performer sister Michelle.

Benjamin is a frequent contributor to Good Weekend (The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age), frankie and The Monthly. Ben has written for more than 50 publications, with the especially notable “Moral Panic 101” published in the Quarterly Essay. Additionally, Benjamin co-hosts Stop Everything!, a weekly pop-culture program on Radio National, alongside Beverley Wang.

Benjamin has a number of feature and television projects in development.

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Benjamin Law considers himself pretty lucky to live in Australia: he can hold his boyfriend’s hand in public and lobby his politicians to recognise same-sex marriage. As the child of migrants, though, he also wonders how different life might have been had he grown up elsewhere. So off he sets to meet his fellow Gaysians.

Law takes his investigative duties seriously, baring all in Balinese gay nudist resorts, and taking Indian yoga classes designed to cure his homosexuality. The characters he meets – from Tokyo’s celebrity drag queens to HIV-positive Burmese sex workers, from Malaysian ex-gay Christian fundamentalists to Thai ladyboy beauty contestants – all teach him something new about being queer in Asia.

At once hilarious and moving, Gaysiatraces a fascinating quest by a leading Australian writer.

Published by Black Inc Books [To purchase, go to Publisher]

I marked the day in my adolescent diary with a single blank page.

The mantle of “queer migrant” compelled me to keep going – to go further.

I never “came out” to my parents. I felt I owed them no explanation.

All I heard from the pulpit were grim hints.

I became acutely aware of the parts of myself that were unpalatable to queers who grew up in the city.

I was thirty-eight and figured it was time to come out to her.

That’s when I know it’s not going anywhere – the gay.

I felt like I had been dunked into an episode of The L Word and I wasn’t given the script.

No amount of YouTube videos and queer think pieces prepared me for this moment.

My queerness was born in a hot dry land that was never ceded. I finally admitted what my feelings for Dirty Dancing–era Patrick Swayze had clearly been indicating for some time.

Even now, I sometimes think that I don’t know my own desire.

Compiled by celebrated author and journalist Benjamin Law, Growing Up Queer in Australiaassembles voices from across the spectrum of LGBTIQA+ identity. Spanning diverse places, eras, genders, ethnicities and experiences, these are the stories of growing up queer in Australia.

For better or worse, sooner or later, life conspires to reveal you to yourself, and this is growing up.

With contributions from David Marr, Fiona Wright, Nayuka Gorrie, Steve Dow, Holly Throsby, Sally Rugg, Tony Ayres, Nic Holas, Rebecca Shaw, Kerryn Phelps and many more.

Published by Black Inc Books [To purchase, go to Publisher]

Meet the Law family – eccentric, endearing and hard to resist. Your guide: Benjamin, the third of five children and a born humourist. Join him as he tries to answer some puzzling questions: Why won’t his Chinese dad wear made-in-China underpants? Why was most of his extended family deported in the 1980s? Will his childhood dreams of Home and Awaystardom come to nothing? What are his chances of finding love?

Hilarious and moving, The Family Lawis a linked series of tales from a beloved Australian writer.

Now a major SBS television series!

Published by Black Inc Books [To purchase, go to Publisher]

Are Australian schools safe? And if they’re not, what happens when kids are caught in a bleak collision between ill-equipped teachers and a confected scandal?

In 2016, the Safe Schools program became the focus of an ideological firestorm. In Moral Panic 101, Benjamin Law explores how and why this happened. He weaves a subtle, gripping account of schools today, sexuality, teenagers, new ideas of gender fluidity, media scandal and mental health.

In this timely essay, Law also looks at the new face of homophobia in Australia, and the long battle for equality and acceptance. Investigating bullying of the vulnerable young, he brings to light hidden worlds, in an essay notable for its humane clarity.

“To read every article the Australianhas published on Safe Schools is to induce nausea. This isn’t even a comment on the content, just the sheer volume … And yet, across this entire period, the Australian – self-appointed guardian of the safety of children – spoke to not a single school-aged LGBTIQ youth. Not even one. Later, queer teenagers who followed the Safe Schools saga told me the dynamic felt familiar. At school, it’s known as bullying. In journalism, it’s called a beat-up.” —Benjamin Law, Moral Panic 101

Available through Black Inc Books [To purchase, go to Publisher]

Do you accidentally get turned-on while watching a nature documentary? Are you dating someone whose tattoos are the worst but you’re having the best sex of your life? Are you feeling emasculated because your girlfriend has had more one-night stands than you? Never fear: the world’s first mother-son sex and relationships advice duo is here to save you from yourself.

The longest-running regular column in The Lifted Brow, the ‘Law School’ column has been offering stern warnings, enthusiastic encouragement and sage (and not-so-sage) wisdom to desperate lovers and sexual adventurists alike in every issue of our magazine since 2011. This collection brings the best of ‘Law School’ out of the shadows of the literary back pages and into an excruciatingly funny and semi- explicit illustrated book of advice you never knew you needed.

Hilarious, rude and surprisingly heart-warming, Law School  covers the practical and ethical dilemmas of sex and relationships from two generational and cultural perspectives. Ben and his mum Jenny challenge the way we think and talk about the intimate, and all in funny, earnest and blunt banter. Their advice will either save your sex and love life, or ruin you forever.

Your Asian Mother Says: “You look just like Mummy when she was your age.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “You will secure love and happiness thanks to my genes so essentially you owe me everything.”

Benjamin Law and Michelle Law, the long-suffering children of an Asian Mother, bring you the hilarious Sh*t Asian Mothers Say, featuring the wisdom of Asian Mothers the world over, from “Eat every grain of rice, otherwise that’s how many pimples your future spouse will have” to “She’s just jealous – and racist”. The book also includes quizzes (“Have You Failed Your Asian Mother?”), an interpretation guide to “What your Asian Mother is really saying”, Ten Asian Mother Commandments (Thou shalt not sleepover) and an Asian Mothers’ Guide to Beauty (bad perms, colour, eyelids). With illustrations by Oslo Davis that bring the disapproving Asian Mother to life, this is the perfect gift for the Asian Mother in your life – or perhaps her children.

Published by Nero, available through Kobo [To purchase, go to Publisher]

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