Hazel Rowley Prize

In 2013 Biographers International Organization (BIO) established the Hazel Rowley Prize for Best Proposal from a First-time Biographer. The winner receives $5,000, a careful reading from at least one established literary agent and a year’s membership in BIO.

The prize was given in memory of Hazel Rowley who was a BIO enthusiast from its inception, understanding the need for biographers to help each other. She was a passionate advocate for the art and craft of biography and a writer of exacting standards. This prize was given to acknowledge Hazel’s contribution to both BIO and biography writing.

The prize has been awarded to the following writers:

2024  Tracy Floreani, working on Invisible Woman: Fanny Ellison and the Staging of a Writer’s Life, a biography of the populist theatre director, aspiring writer and philanthropy professional married to novelist Ralph Ellison

2023  Alec Pollak, writing a biography of American writer Joanna Russ

2022  Laura Michele Diener, writing a biography of the Norwegian-Danish writer Sigrid Undset

2021  Tanya Paperny, writing about her great-grandmother Tatiana Ivanovna Shatalova-Rabinovich, a political activist who was killed by the Stalin regime

2020   Jay Prosser, working on a biography exploring one Jewish family’s experiences and connections across empires and centuries

2019   Barbara Fisher, working on a biography of the influential cultural critic Lionel Trilling

2018   Andrew D Scrimgeour, working on The Man Who Tried to Save Jesus: Robert W. Funk and The Jesus Seminar, about one of the most controversial figures in modern biblical scholarship

2017   Diana Parsell, working on a biography of intrepid American traveller Eliza Scidmore

2016   Robert Marshall, working on a biography of author Carlos Castaneda

2014   Holly Van Leuven, working on a biography of entertainer Ray Bolger