Eight Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2015 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship $10,000 award.
In its fourth year, the Fellowship once again received a strong field of high-quality proposals from emerging and established writers across Australia.
“It is very exciting to see the diverse range of both subjects and literary approaches to biographical writing in Australia today” said Della Rowley, sister of biographer Hazel Rowley. The Fellowship, established to commemorate the life, ideas and writing of Hazel Rowley (1951–2011) awards $10,000 to an Australian writer to support the writing and research of a new biographical work. The intention is to encourage risk taking and travel to immerse writers in their subject’s lives and culture.
The shortlist includes proposals for a broad range of biographies: from memoir to history, politics to literature.
“There are well-structured and intriguingly original proposals here”, said Dr Janine Burke, one of the judges, “together with writing that is both elegant and passionate. It’s a rich field. I think Hazel would be pleased.”
The shortlisted writers are:
- Ann-Marie Priest (Queensland) for her research into renowned Australian poet Gwen Harwood.
- Barry Divola (New South Wales) for the development of ‘Happy Man’, the true story of Australian band The Sunnyboys and singer-songwriter Jeremy Oxley. Biff Ward (Australian Capital Territory) for the development of her memoir, ‘Vietnam, Mon Amour’.
- Caroline Baum (New South Wales) for her work on the life and letters of Lucie Dreyfus.
- Lyn Gallacher (Victoria) writing about Ruth and Peter Mann and their iconic Melbourne record store, Discurio. Naomi Parry (New South Wales) for a biography of Musquito that examines colonial and post-colonial approaches to Aboriginal history.
- Patrick Allington (South Australia) for his project about the writings of David Malouf.
- Ronnie Scott (Victoria) for his work tracing Agatha Christie’s journey across three countries.
The winner of the 2015 Fellowship will be announced on Wednesday 4th March at Adelaide Writers Week after the Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture to be given by David Marr at 5pm.
The 2015 Fellowship will be judged by biographers Jim Davidson and Janine Burke along with Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan, Hazel’s close friend and fellow initiator of the fellowship.
About the previous Fellows
Last year, the 2014 Fellowship went to Maxine Beneba Clarke to re-trace her parents’, grandparents’ and ancestors’ migration journeys for her upcoming autobiography, ‘The Hate Race’.
In 2013 the Fellowship was awarded to Stephany Steggall for her biography of Thomas Keneally and she travelled to Ireland to further her research.
In 2012, the inaugural recipient of the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, Mary Hoban, writing about Julia Sorell, used the Fellowship to travel to the Balliol Library in Oxford and the Turnbull Library in Wellington to research early Tasmanian history.
About Hazel Rowley
“My books are about people who had the courage to break out of their confined world and help others to do the same” – Hazel Rowley
Before her untimely death in 2011, Hazel wrote four critically acclaimed biographies: ‘Christina Stead: A Biography’ (1993), ‘Richard Wright: The Life and Times’ (2001), ‘Tête-à-Tête: The Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre’ (2005) and ‘Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage’ (2010). Erudite and accessible, these studies brought fresh attention to the lives and works of significant figures both nationally and internationally.