2022 – WINNER
Leaping into waterfalls:the enigmatic Gillian Mears by Bernadette Brennan
The memoirs of Helen Garner, David Williamson AO, Amani Haydar and Lech Blaine, along with biographies of some of Australia’s best-known writers, were shortlisted for the 2022 Award, Australia’s richest prize in the genre.
Judges’ Comments: An intimate portrayal of the complicated life and premature death of Australian novelist and short story writer Gillian Mears. This brilliant and balanced biography details her rural childhood and deep emotional enmeshment with her three sisters, her prodigious and restless love life, her spiritual journeys, her writing process, her appalling treatment of friends and publishers, her soaring talent, and her inexorable descent into illness. From this impressively researched, intense account — replete with intimate psychological detail — Mears emerges as insecure, self-obsessed, self-dramatising, demanding, shy, ruthless, self-promoting, solitary, and yet with an ability to charm and draw people into an intense involvement in her life and writing.
The shortlisted works, selected from 109 entries, are:
- Car Crash: A Memoir by Lech Blaine
- One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987-1995 by Helen Garner
- The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar
- Into the Loneliness: The unholy alliance of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates by Eleanor Hogan
- Home Truths: A Memoir by David Williamson AO
The 2022 Award was assessed by an independent judging panel: Suzanne Falkiner, Rick Morton and Mandy Sayer.
The three Highly Commended titles are:
- Muddy People: A Memoir by Sara El Sayed (Black Inc. Books)
- Black and Blue: a memoir of racism and resilience by Veronica Gorrie (Scribe Publications)
- Mother and I:The Fable of a Wilful Family by Ianto Ware (Hunter Publishers)
For more information about the National Biography Award click here.
See below for the winners from the past four years:
Winner 2021 Truganini by CASSANDRA PYBUS 2021
Winner 2020 Tiberius with a Telephone by PATRICK MULLINS
Winner 2019 No Friend But The Mountains by BEHROUZ BOOCHANI
Winner 2018 The Enigmatic Mr Deakin by JUDITH BRETT