Daily Archives: April 17, 2012

National Biography (?) Awards

I notice that the longlist for the National Biography Awards has been announced.

  • Robyn Arianrhod Seduced by Logic, University of QLD Press
  • Tim Bonyhady Good Living Street: The Fortunes of My Viennese Family, Allen & Unwin
  • Alexander Brown Michael Kirby: Paradoxes & Principles, The Federation Press
  • Pamela Burton From Moree to Mabo: The Mary Gaudron Story, UWA Publishing
  • Sophie Cunningham Melbourne, NewSouth Publishing
  • Delia Falconer Sydney, NewSouth Publishing
  • John Howard Lazarus Rising, Harper Collins
  • Paul Kelly How to Make Gravy, Penguin
  • Mark McKenna An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark, Melbourne University Publishing
  • Martin Thomas The Many Worlds of R.H. Mathews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist, Allen & Unwin
  • David Walker Not Dark Yet, Giramondo Publishing
  • Patrick Wilcken, Claude Levi-Strauss, Bloomsbury

I’m interested by the inclusion of the Sydney and Melbourne books.  There has been a trend over recent years of writing ‘biographies’ of inanimate objects (think Mark Kurlanky’s Cod and Salt) and locations (think Ackroyd’s London: A Biography).

I see that the guidelines for the award specify that the work be “classified as either biography, autobiography or memoir; be written in book form and consist of a minimum length of 50,000 words”.  I haven’t read either the Melbourne or the Sydney book, but I do know that both have a heavy emphasis on memoir, as well as a more factual approach to the two cities.

Still- an interesting inclusion for a biography award.