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2024 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship shortlist announced

2024 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Nine Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2024 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, worth $20,000.

‘It is exciting to see the varied approaches to biography among this year’s proposals, with submissions from both emerging and established writers,’ said Della Rowley, Hazel’s sister.

‘Ranging from spy mistresses, choreographers, composers, writers and a First Nations nursing pioneer to activists and champions of human rights, this year’s shortlist reflects an eclectic and diverse range of subjects.’

The nine shortlisted writers are:

  • Carolyn Dowley (WA), for a biography of Sadie Canning, a Wongutha woman, a member of the Stolen Generations and Western Australia’s first Aboriginal nurse.
  • Charlie Ward (NT), writing about Jean Zakaria and her Australian-Indonesian family.
  • Erik Jensen (Vic), writing about Rafael Bonachela and the Sydney Dance Company.
  • Helen Trinca (NSW), for a biography of Australian author Elizabeth Harrower.
  • Jane McCredie (NSW), for a biography of Jane Eastment, one of the so-called ‘incorrigible prostitutes’ sent to Tasmania in 1832.
  • Kate Fullagar (ACT), for a biography of Marguerite Wolters, an 18th century spy mistress to empires and revolutionists.
  • Michelle Scott Tucker (Vic), for a biography of Louisa Lawson, newspaper proprietor, poet, suffragist and mother of Henry Lawson.
  • Sophie Cull (USA/NSW), writing about prison lawyer Calvin Duncan and his struggle for justice in the prison system in USA.
  • Suzanne Robinson (Vic), for her proposal ‘Becoming Modern: Australian women composers in London between the wars’.

‘We are delighted to be a partner in the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship,’ said Lucy Hamilton, CEO of Writers Victoria, which administers the award. ‘The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship has become a prestigious award for Australian writers of biography, with the Fellowship having helped nine writers achieve publication.’

The winner of the 2024 Fellowship will be announced at a special event at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on Wednesday 13 March from 6.15–7.15pm. This will follow the Hazel Rowley Memorial lecture, with Mandy Sayer (our 2021 Hazel Rowley Fellow) in conversation with Adolfo Aranjuez. They will be talking about Mandy’s biography, Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters, about the lives and filmmaking talents of Paulette, Phyllis and Isabel McDonagh, who produced four feature films between 1926 and 1933.

The 2024 Fellowship will be judged by writers Clare Wright and Christos Tsiolkas, along with Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan, Hazel’s close friend.

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship has a strong track record in enabling biographers and writers of memoirs to complete and publish their works. Nine of our recipients have published to date: Matthew Lamb (Frank Moorhouse: Strange Paths), Mandy Sayer (Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters: Australia’s First Female Filmmaking Team), Ann-Marie Priest (My Tongue is My Own: A Life of Gwen Harwood), Eleanor Hogan (Into the Loneliness: The Unholy Alliance of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates), Jacqueline Kent (Vida Goldstein: A Woman for Our Time), Gabrielle Carey (Only Happiness Here: In Search of Elizabeth von Arnim), Mary Hoban (An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold), Maxine Beneba Clarke (The Hate Race) and Stephany Steggall (Interestingly Enough… The Life of Tom Keneally).

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.

In 2021 Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan published Life as Art: The biographical writing of Hazel Rowley (MUP), an edited collection of Hazel’s essays, talks and journal entries.

To find out more about the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, visit this page on our website here.

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