National Biography Award

Last updated:  07 March 2024
Applications closed

The National Biography Award celebrates excellence in biography, autobiography and memoir writing.

2024

Applications closed

About the Award

Since 1996, the National Biography Award has celebrated 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: 

•    $25,000 for the winner 
•    $2,000 for each of the six shortlisted authors 
•    $5,000 Michael Crouch Award for a first published biography, autobiography or memoir by an Australian writer 

The Award is supported by the State Library of NSW Foundation.  

Past winners

2023

Book cover
    Winner
My Tongue Is My Own: A Life of Gwen Harwood
La Trobe University Press/ Black Inc.

2022

Leaping into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears book cover
    Winner
Leaping into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears
Allen & Unwin

2021

Truganini
    Winner
Truganini
Allen and Unwin

2020

Cover image of Tiberius with a telephone
    Winner
Tiberius with a Telephone

2019

No Friend But the mountain
    Winner
No Friend But The Mountains

2018

Cover image of the enigmatic mr deakin
    Winner
The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

2017

Cover image of Before Rupert
    Winner
Before Rupert
UQP

2016

Book cover of Mannix by Brenda Niall
    Winner
Mannix

2015

    Winner
An Unsentimental Bloke

2014

    Winner
The Ambitions of Jane Franklin

2013

Australian character actor Frank Thrings and Australian entrepreneur Frank Thrings on book cover of The Two Frank Thrings by Peter Fitzpatrick
    Winner
The Two Frank Thrings

2012

    Winner
The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews

2011

    Winner
Grand Obsessions

2010

    Winner
Manning Clark: A Life

2009

    Winner
I am Melba

2008

napoleon.jpg
    Joint winner
Napoleon, 1769-1799

2008

    Joint winner
These Few Lines: A Convict Story

2007

    Winner
East of Time

2006

    Winner
The Idea of Home

2005

    Winner
The Boy in the Green Suit

2004

    Winner
Broken Song

2003

rose_boys.jpg
    Joint winner
Rose Boys

2003

recollections_of_a_bleeding_heart.jpg
    Joint winner
Recollections of a Bleeding Heart

2002

    Winner
A Certain Style

2000

Dreamtime Alice: a Memoir
    Joint winner
Dreamtime Alice: a Memoir

1998

Snake Cradle
    Winner
Snake Cradle

1996

The World of My Past
    Winner
The World of My Past

Michael Crouch Award for a Debut Work

The Michael Crouch Award ($5,000) and is presented for an outstanding first published biography, autobiography or memoir.

Judging Panel
photo of melinda harvey

Dr Melinda Harvey

Panel Chair

Melinda Harvey is a book critic who has written for a wide variety of Australian newspapers and magazines since 2004. She has been a Walkley Awards finalist for her criticism and has served as on numerous judging panels, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award (2017-2021) and Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize (2021-2022). She is Lecturer in English at Monash University.

photo of jason om

Jason Om

Jason Om is an award-winning reporter with the ABC’s 7.30 program, author of the memoir, All Mixed Up, and a presenter. In 2021, Jason won the Media Diversity Australia Award at the Mid-Year Walkleys, and in 2022, the media accolade at the NSW (LGBTQ) Honour Awards. In 2017, he won widespread praise for his personal story about his dad’s sixteen-year struggle to accept him as gay. Previously, Jason has been a presenter on the ABC News Channel and a reporter for ABC News Breakfast, ABC Life, Lateline and ABC Radio. All Mixed Up is his first book.

Photo of Eda Gunaydin

Eda Gunaydin

Eda Gunaydin is a Turkish-Australian memoirist and critic whose writing explores class, capital, intergenerational trauma and diaspora. You can find her work in the Sydney Review of Books, HEAT Magazine, Meanjin and elsewhere. Her debut essay collection Root & Branch: Essays on Inheritance won the 2022 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Prize for New Writer of the Year at the 2023 ABIAs.

Related events

Award Information

For more information, please contact the Awards team.

awards@sl.nsw.gov.au

Phone: (02) 9273 1767, or alternatively (02) 9273 1770.