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Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship supports Australian writers of biography, and extends to include a writer who is working on an aspect of cultural or social history. The Fellowship awards $20,000 to assist with travel and research.

2022 Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2022 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was announced on 13 January 2022. The shortlisted writers and their works are:

  • Sylvia Martin (NSW), writing about artists Eirene Mort and Nora Kate Weston.
  • Kelly Gellatly (Vic), for a biography of artist Rosalie Gascoigne.
  • Michelle Nayahamui Rooney (ACT), writing about her mother Nahau Rooney, one of the first women elected to the Papua New Guinea parliament.
  • Melanie Duckworth (SA), writing a biography of children’s author Christobel Mattingley.
  • Lorin Clarke (Vic), writing a memoir of her father, satirist and comedian John Clarke.
  • Mark Mordue (NSW), writing a biography of singer-songwriter Nick Cave.
  • Aunty Joy Murphy and Jessica Horton (Vic), jointly writing a biography of Jarlo Wandoon, Aunty Joy’s father.
  • Naomi Parry (NSW), writing about the life of Gai-mariagal man Musquito, who was killed in Tasmania in 1825.
  • Hannah Fink (NSW), also for a biography of artist Rosalie Gascoigne.

For more information, read the shortlist announcement here.

Key dates: 2022

Applications for the 2022 Fellowship open: 1 October 2021

Applications close: 16 November 2021

Shortlist announced: January 2022

Winner announced: March 2022, following the Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture.


2021 Fellow

Mandy Sayer was announced as winner of the 2021 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship on Wednesday 3 March, in front of a large audience at Adelaide Writers’ Week.

Mandy Sayer was awarded $15,000 for her proposed biography of Australian silent filmmakers the McDonagh sisters, Paulette, Isabelle, and Phyllis. Between 1926 and 1933 the three sisters wrote, produced and directed the films, while one of them acted in the main roles.

“Announcing our 10th Fellow is a significant milestone,” said Della Rowley. “This year also marks 10 years since my sister died and we established the Fellowship to honour her life and work. Since we started the Fellowship, we have given away over $150,000 to support Australian writers of biography.”

“We are delighted to award the 2021 Fellowship to Mandy Sayer for her proposal on the McDonagh sisters,” said Fellowship judge Jeff Sparrow. “Her biography promises to restore three fascinating and talented women from the dawn of Australian film to the prominence they deserve.”

2020 Fellow

Lance Richardson was awarded the $15,000 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, following the cancellation of the Hazel Rowley memorial lecture due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Della Rowley, Hazel’s sister, made the announcement on the 18th of March, saying “At the annual lecture, we announce the Fellowship winner for the year, and it gives me great pleasure to announce Lance Richardson as the winner of the $15,000 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for 2020. Lance has won for his proposed biography of writer, naturalist and Zen Buddhist, Peter Matthiessen.”

“The judges all agreed that his proposed biography of Peter Matthiessen is an outstanding choice for this year’s Fellowship,” said Jenny Hocking, one of the four judges.

“Lance’s subject is probably best known as the author of ‘The Snow Leopard’, the account of his journey in remote Nepal on the Tibetan Plateau. The judges were impressed by the quality of Lance’s writing and the international reach of this ambitious proposal”.

2019 Fellow

Eleanor Hogan was awarded the $15,000 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship during Adelaide Writers’ Week, following the Hazel Rowley Memorial lecture given by award-winning author Maria Tumarkin on Monday 4 March 2019. Her project, ‘Into the Loneliness’, is a speculative biographical work about the collaboration between journalist Ernestine Hill and self-taught ethnologist Daisy Bates. 

“Eleanor Hogan’s study of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates promises to be a fascinating exploration of women’s relationships in 20th century Australia, even as it offers fresh insight into the problematic formation of an ethnological consensus about Indigenous Australia,” said Fellowship judge Jeff Sparrow.

“Eleanor’s idea of a joint biography of two feisty women within a fascinating and important period of our history won over the judges,” said Della Rowley, sister of the late biographer in whose name the Fellowship has been established. “Her proposal recalls Hazel’s own interest in exploring the complex relationships between two people whose lives are intertwined.” 

Past Fellows

In 2018, the Fellowship was awarded to Jacqueline Kent (NSW) for her proposed biography of Vida Goldstein (1869-1949). The judges also awarded a Special Hazel Rowley Award of $15,000 to Drusilla Modjeska (NSW) for her proposed memoir, ‘First Half Second: Volume 2’.

In 2017, the Fellowship was awarded to Anne-Marie Priest (QLD) biography of Australian poet Gwen Harwood (1920-1995). For the first time, the Fellowship also made a highly-commended award of $3,000 to Suzanne Spunner (Vic) for her biography of East Kimberley artist Rover Thomas.

The 2016 Fellowship was awarded to Matthew Lamb (TAS) for his proposed cultural biography of the Australian writer Frank Moorhouse.

The 2015 Fellowship winner was announced at Adelaide Writers Week. Caroline Baum will use the $10,000 Fellowship to write a biography of Lucie Dreyfus (1870-1945).

The 2014 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was awarded to Maxine Beneba Clarke (Vic). Maxine’s autobiography ‘The Hate Race’ – a memoir about growing up black in white middle-class Australia – was published by Hachette in August 2016.

The 2013 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was awarded to Stephany Steggall whose biography of Thomas Keneally, ‘Interestingly Enough’ was published by Nero in 2015..

The 2012 winner, Mary Hoban, worked on a biography of Julia Arnold (nee Sorell, 1826-1888).

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship is supported by the Hazel Rowley Literary Fund; a sub-fund of Australian Communities Foundation.

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