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About the Award

Thick hardcover book lying open with pages displayed

The National Biography Award, supported by the Nelson Meers Foundation, celebrates excellence in biography, autobiography and memoir writing.

With a prize pool of $42,000 it is the nation’s richest prize for Australian biographical writing and memoir.  

The Award was established in 1996 by Dr Geoffrey Cains and generously supported by the late Michael Crouch AC to encourage the highest standards of writing in biographical writing and to promote public interest in the genre.

On 6 August 2018 the State Library announced that the Nelson Meers Foundation would be supporting the Award moving forward. The Nelson Meers Foundation has generously increased the value of the prize for each of the shortlisted authors to $2,000. The Nelson Meers Foundation's key objective is to foster innovative artistic and cultural expression, and to encourage greater engagement with the diversity, complexity and richness of
our cultural sector. They support organisations and projects that utilise the arts to create positive social change, promote individual wellbeing, community cohesion and cultural tolerance.

In recognition of the long standing support from the late Michael Crouch AC the Nelson Meers Foundation will also fund an additional prize in his name for a first published biography/memoir by an Australian writer. 

The Award’s growth and success recognises and reflects the continuing interest in stories about people with extraordinary lives.

In 2020 there will be a total of $42,000 in prize money: 
•    $25,000 for the winner
•    $2,000 for each of six shortlisted authors
•    $5,000 Michael Crouch Award for a first published biography by an Australian writer