Australian National Biography Award – Shortlist Announced Today

The State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW) has announced the shortlist for the $25,000 National Biography Award.

The award is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the award’s benefactor Mr Michael Crouch AO.

The Award was established in 1996 by Dr Geoffrey Cains to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres.

The total prize value is $31,000 – $25,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for shortlisted authors – making it the richest national prize dedicated to Australian biographical writing and memoir.

The shortlisted works for 2017 are:

  • The Unknown Judith Wright (Georgina Arnott, UWA Publishing)
  • Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow (Suzanne Falkiner, UWA Publishing)
  • Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes and Memories (Kim Mahood, Scribe)
  • Evatt: A Life (John Murphy, NewSouth Publishing)
  • The Long Goodbye (P J Parker, Hardie Grant Books)
  • Before Rupert: Keith Murdoch and the Birth of a Dynasty (Tom D C Roberts, UQP)

Congratulations one and all, and nice that all on the shortlist (chosen from 71 entries!) will receive some prize money. The winner will be announced on 31 July.

Judging panel chair Peter Cochrane said the judges were ‘dazzled by the quality and range of entries, confirming that biography is alive and well in Australia and the genre is thriving’.

Previous winners have included:

  • Mannix (Brenda Niall, Text Publishing)
  • An Unsentimental Bloke: The Life and Work of CJ Dennis (Philip Butterss, Wakefield Press)
  • The Ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian Lady Adventurer (Alison Alexander, Allen&Unwin)
2018-03-25T01:04:02+00:00 July 3rd, 2017|Writing|10 Comments


  1. Nathan Hobby July 3, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Hope to see your name next year! I mean to post on this too but may not get the chance. A good range of titles in the list – but missing my two favourites, Our Man Elsewhere and Ink in her Veins.

    • Michelle Scott Tucker July 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      You’re very kind but I’m so excited about actually being published that I’m sure a prize shortlisting would cause my head to explode. So let’s not go there! I’m also embarrassed about how few of the shortlisted titles I’ve read. Actually I think the number is zero. Ouch!

  2. wadholloway July 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I think Mick – it seems to have been getting a lot of publicity – or is that just the view from the West. And I would have liked Ink in Her Veins to be up there too.

    • Michelle Scott Tucker July 3, 2017 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      My money is on Mahood, but I’m only basing this guess on the excellent reviews of her work by ANZLitlovers and Whispering Gums. I’m very keen to read it.

  3. whisperinggums July 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I’d love to see Mahood win. I haven’t read the others but Mahood is excellent AND deals with something relevant right now.

  4. Lisa Hill July 3, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Yes, I was excited about Mahood too. I’ve got the one about Judith Wright because I heard the author talk about it at the Williamstown Literary Festival, and I’ve also got Our Man Elsewhere because I heard about it at the Woodend Arts Festival, but I will try to read and review the Arnott ASAP…

  5. […] wrote about the shortlist here. I confess that I haven’t read the winner and I was barracking for Mahood (Position Doubtful […]

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