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2019 Hazel Rowley Fellowship shortlist announced

Eight Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2019 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship worth $15,000.  

The Fellowship, now in its eighth year, has attracted a field of high-quality proposals from biographers across Australia.

“I’m so encouraged by the range and quality of the proposals we received,” said Della Rowley, sister of biographer Hazel Rowley. “Hazel would have been impressed and excited to read about these fascinating subjects.”

Works about Australian artists, writers, adventurers, Indigenous activists and a colonial governor feature in this year’s shortlist.

“The shortlisted proposals represent eight exciting works in progress,” said Angela Savage, Director of Writers Victoria, which administers the award. “The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship has a great track record in this regard. With two previous winners due to be published in 2019, this brings to four the number of published works that have benefited from the Fellowship.”

The Fellowship, established to commemorate the life, ideas and writing of Hazel Rowley (1951–2011) awards $15,000 to an Australian writer to support the writing and research of a biographical work.

The shortlist

  • Maggie Tonkin (South Australia) for a biography of renowned Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard
  • Brigitta Olubas (NSW) for a biography of writer Shirley Hazzard
  • Eleanor Hogan (Northern Territory) for her project on the friendship between Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates
  • Stephenie Cahalan (Tasmania) writing about artist Jean Belette, ‘The Modern Woman of Australian Modernism’
  • Gabrielle Carey (NSW) for a biography of Elizabeth von Arnim, who was Katherine Mansfield’s cousin and a writer herself, known for her novel ‘Elizabeth and Her German Garden’
  • James Boyce (Tasmania) for a new biography of Governor Lachlan Macquarie
  • James Mairata (NSW) for a biography about Australian film and television producer Hal McElroy
  • Diana James (NSW) for her proposal ‘Open Hearted Country: Nganyinytja’s Story’

Award Night

The winner will be announced during Adelaide Writers’ Week, following the Hazel Rowley Memorial lecture to be given by award-winning author, Maria Tumarkin on Monday 4 March 2019.

The 2019 Fellowship will be judged by biographers Jenny Hocking and Jeff Sparrow along with Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan, Hazel’s close friend.

About the previous Fellows

In 2018 the Fellowship was awarded to Jacqueline Kent (NSW) for a biography of suffragist Vida Goldstein.

In 2017 Ann-Marie Priest (Queensland) was awarded the Fellowship for her biography of renowned Australian poet Gwen Harwood.

The 2016 the Fellowship went to Matthew Lamb (Tasmania) for Frank Moorhouse: A Discontinuous Life to be published by Vintage later this year.

In 2015, the Fellowship was awarded to Caroline Baum (NSW), for a biography of Lucie Dreyfus (1870-1945).

The 2014 Fellowship went to Maxine Beneba Clarke (Victoria) for her memoir, The Hate Race – about growing up black in white middle-class Australia. It was published by Hachette in 2016 and won several awards.

Stephany Steggall (Queensland) used the 2013 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship to write a biography of Thomas Keneally, Interestingly Enough… published by Black Inc. in 2015.

The inaugural recipient of the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship in 2012, Mary Hoban (Victoria), has her biography An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold, being published in April this year by Scribe.

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 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.

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