Frank Moorhouse book shortlisted

In great news, Matthew Lamb’s book Frank Moorhouse: Strange Paths has been shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year 2024, in the non-fiction category. The winner will be announced on 8 May on the opening night of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Matthew was interviewed in April 2024 by Gabriella Kelly-Davies for her podcast series Biographers in Conversation.

2024 Hazel Rowley Fellowship winner

The winner of the 2024 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, worth $20,000, is Kate Fullagar, who is writing a biography of Marguerite Wolters, a Dutch woman who was a spy mistress to empires and revolutionists in the 18th century. Marguerite Wolter’s intelligence to the British contributed significantly to their decision in 1786 to build a penal colony in NSW.

The announcement on 13 March at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne followed a discussion between Adolfo Aranjuez and Mandy Sayer, our 2021 Fellow, about her biography Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters: Australia’s first female filmmaking team.

More information about our 2024 winner can be found on our Fellowship page.

New book from one of our shortlisted writers

Congratulations to Madelaine Dickie, who we shortlisted for the 2020 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for her biography of Nyikina man Wayne Bergmann. Wayne and Madelaine have co-written Some People Want to Shoot Me. It has just been published by Fremantle Press.

Wayne Bergmann is a Nyikina leader, a boilermaker welder and a lawyer. He is a former Chief Executive of the Kimberley Land Council and is famous for negotiating a $1.5 billion compensation package for Traditional Owners over a controversial gas plant at James Price Point north of Broome. His story is particularly relevant in the wake of the failed Voice to Parliament referendum. Wayne has received death threats and his family has been deeply affected by his work fighting for the rights of Traditional Owners. His is an electrifying tale of resilience, determination and optimism, which shows what it takes to be an Aboriginal person walking in two cultures in a country where racism runs deep.

For more information and to order a copy, go to the Fremantle Press website.


2024 Fellowship shortlist announced

Nine Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2024 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship:

  • Carolyn Dowley (WA), for a biography of Sadie Canning, a Wongutha woman, a member of the Stolen Generations and Western Australia’s first Aboriginal nurse.
  • Charlie Ward (NT), writing about Jean Zakaria and her Australian-Indonesian family.
  • Erik Jensen (VIC), writing about Rafael Bonachela and the Sydney Dance Company.
  • Helen Trinca (NSW), for a biography of Australian writer Elizabeth Harrower.
  • Jane McCredie (NSW), for a biography of Jane Eastment, one of the so-called ‘incorrigible prostitutes’ sent to Tasmania in 1832.
  • Kate Fullagar (ACT), for a biography of Marguerite Wolters, an 18th century spy mistress to empires and revolutionists.
  • Michelle Scott Tucker (VIC), for a biography of Louisa Lawson, newspaper proprietor, poet, suffragist and mother of Henry Lawson.
  • Sophie Cull (USA/NSW), writing about prison lawyer Calvin Duncan and his struggle for justice in the prison system in USA.
  • Suzanne Robinson (VIC), for her proposal ‘Becoming Modern: Australian women composers in London between the wars’.

It is exciting to see the varied approaches to biography among the proposals, with submissions from both emerging and established writers. Our judges for the 2024 Fellowship are Clare Wright, Christos Tsiolkas, Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan.

Stage production of The Hate Race

The Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne is staging a production of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s book The Hate Race (Hachette, 2016). It will be on from 23 February to 17 March 2024. If you’re in Melbourne during that time, please take the chance to see this important production. Maxine was our 2014 Fellow and we’re really looking forward to seeing her award-winning memoir on stage. To quote from The Malthouse Theatre, ‘The Hate Race is more than a theatrical experience—it is a call to action. This is how we change.’

Frank Moorhouse biography published

We are incredibly pleased to announce that Volume one of a two-volume biography of Frank Moorhouse by Matthew Lamb, our 2016 Fellow, has just been released. Frank Moorhouse: Strange Paths is published by Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Matthew has recently published an article in a Friday Essay for the Conversation where he discusses in detail how a biographer balances storytelling with a search for the truth. He talks compellingly about the complications and dilemmas a biographer faces – for example, what to do when the ‘legend’ conflicts with the facts, and how to avoid letting a friendship with your subject cloud your understanding of him as a biographical subject. Matthew also has a Substack newsletter where he has launched an occasional series on the ongoing project of writing Frank Moorhouse’s life, including reflections on the art of biography, literary culture and democracy (Public Things).

You can read reviews of Matthew’s book on The Guardian website, the Books+Publishing website and Inside Story website.

We congratulate Matthew on this magnificent book and urge you to buy a copy.


Ann-Marie Priest wins the 2023 National Biography Award

We are immensely pleased to announce that Ann-Marie Priest, our 2017 Fellow, has won the National Biography Award for her biography of Australian poet Gwen Harwood, My Tongue is My Own: A Life of Gwen Harwood (La Trobe University Press/Black Inc, 2022). This is the first biography of Gwen Harwood, one of Australia’s finest poets. The judges were unanimous in their praise of Ann-Marie’s research, scholarship and analysis, describing it as a ‘perceptive’ and ‘creative’ biography. Huge congratulations to Ann-Marie for a well-deserved win. We’re so proud to have played a part in supporting her work.

National Library Canberra acquires Hazel Rowley Papers

We have some exciting news for researchers and biographers.

Hazel Rowley lodged her Papers in relation to her Christina Stead biography with the National Library of Australia (NLA) back in 1996. The NLA has now acquired the rest of Hazel’s Papers in relation to her biographies of Richard Wright (2001), Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (2006), and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt (2010). They have also acquired her Papers in relation to her essays and her other writing.

The NLA was very pleased to acquire the collection. It includes an original letter of Simone de Beauvoir and original letters of Christina Stead. The Papers are catalogued under the heading Papers of Hazel Rowley. For more information about Hazel Rowley and her writing, go to our Hazel Rowley page.



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