National Biography Award

About the National Biography Award

National Biography Award

The National Biography Award is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the award's benefactors, Dr Geoffrey Cains and Mr Michael Crouch AO.

The Award was established to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres. The Award’s growth and success recognises and reflects the continuing interest in stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives.

In 2012, the total prize value was increased to $31,000 – $25,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for shortlisted authors – making it the richest national prize dedicated to Australian biographical writing and memoir.

An engrossing biography of Jane Franklin written by historian Dr Alison Alexander won the $25,000 National Biography Award for 2014 at the State Library of NSW on Monday 4 August 2014.

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin, Victorian Lady Adventurer (Allen & Unwin) traces the life of this inimitable woman, from her birth in late eighteenth-century London, her marriage at the ripe age of 36 years to Sir John Franklin, to her many trips to far-flung locations, including Russia, the Holy Land, northern Africa, America and Australia.

In announcing the six shortlisted contenders, the chair of the 2014 judging panel Dr Jacqueline Kent observed: "This book is impressively light on its feet, and Alexander guides the reader through Franklin's story with a great deal of writerly skill."

Read the judges' citation for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin
See the full shortlist for the 2014 National Biography Award

2015 National Biography Award

Books eligible for the 2015 Award must have been first published between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014, and be of a minimum length of 40,000 words. Entries closed on Friday 20 February 2015.

The subject of the work is to be an Australian or have made a significant contribution to Australia. Other subjects may be considered if the author is an Australian citizen or permanent resident and the work provides a particularly Australian perspective of the subject.

The winner of the 2015 National Biography Award will be announced in August at a presentation ceremony at the State Library of NSW.

More information

Please contact Senior Project Officer, Awards.

Other State Library NSW Awards & Fellowships
National Biography Award website
State Library NSW media releases
Australian Book Review

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