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

The shortlisted works, selected from a record 107 entries and including five debut biographies/memoirs, are:

  • Donald Horne: A life in the Lucky Country (Ryan Cropp, La Trobe University Press)
  • Bee Miles: Australia’s famous bohemian rebel, and the untold story behind the legend (Rose Ellis, A&U)
  • Inner Song: A biography of Margaret Sutherland (Jillian Graham, The Miegunyah Press)
  • The Shape of Dust: A father wrongly imprisoned, a daughter’s quest to free him (Lamisse Hamouda with Hazem Hamouda, Pantera)
  • Frank Moorhouse: A life (Catharine Lumby, A&U)
  • Shirley Hazzard: A writing life (Brigitta Olubas, Virago).

The six shortlisted authors each receive $2000, while the $5000 Michael Crouch AC Award will be awarded to the best debut biography or memoir.

Said chair of the judges Melinda Harvey: ‘This magnificent shortlist is united in a single pursuit: to understand Australian lives, from the famous to the forgotten, as snapshots of political and social history. But not only that: these books harbour the belief that the act of remembering what Australians have experienced and contributed is, itself, potentially transformative for our country’s future.’

The judging panel, comprising Harvey, Eda Gunaydin and Jason Om, also gave a highly commended mention to Graft: Motherhood, family and a year on the land by Maggie MacKellar (Penguin).

The winners of the overall award and the Michael Crouch AC Award will be announced later this month.

More information is available on the SLNSW website.

Featured image  – The late, great Australian academic and writer Donald Horne.


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