National Biography Award

The National Biography Award was established in 1996. It is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents who have published a work of biography or autobiography. The prize is worth $20,000 and, since 1998, has been administered by the State Library of New South Wales on behalf of the award's benefactors, Dr Geoffrey Cains and Michael Crouch A.M. The prize was awarded every two years until 2002 when it became annual.

2016 winner



Brenda Niall, Mannix (Text Publishing)





2016 shortlisted works

  • Martin Edmond, Battarbee and Namatjira (Giramondo)
  • Stephen FitzGerald, Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy (Melbourne University Publishing)
  • Karen Lamb, Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather (Melbourne University Press)
  • Brenda Niall, Mannix (Text Publishing)
  • Peter Rees, Bearing Witness: The Remarkable Life of Charles Bean, Australia's greatest war correspondent (Allen & Unwin)
  • Magda Szubanski, Reckoning: A Memoir (Text Publishing)

previous winners

2015 Philip Butterss, An Unsentimental Bloke: The Life and Work of C.J. Dennis (Wakefield)
2014 Alison Alexander, The Ambitions of Jane Franklin (Allen & Unwin)
2013 – Peter Fitzpatrick, The Two Frank Thrings (Monash University Publishing)
2012 – Martin Thomas, The Many Worlds of R.H. Matthews (Allen & Unwin)
2011 – Alasdair McGregor, Grand Obsessions: The Life and Work of Walter Burley Griffin
            and Marion Mahony Griffin
2010 Brian Matthews, Manning Clark: A Life (Allen & Unwin)
2009 – Ann Blainey, I Am Melba (Black Inc.)
2008 Philip Dwyer, Napoleon (Bloomsbury)
           Graham Seal, These Few Lines (ABC Books)
2007   Jacob Rosenberg, East of Time, (Brandl & Schlesinger)
2006   John Hughes, The Idea of Home (Giramondo)
2005   Robert Hillman, The Boy in the Green Suit (Scribe Publications)
2004   Barry Hill, Broken Song T.G.H. Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession (Random House)
2003 Peter Rose, The Rose Boys, (Allen and Unwin) 
           Don Watson, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PM (Random House)
2002 Jacqueline Kent, A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis, a Literary Life, (Viking)
2000   Peter Robb, M, a Biography of European Painter Caravaggio (Duffy & Snellgrove)
           Mandy Sayer, Dreamtime Alice: A Memoir (Vintage)
1998   Roberta Sykes, Snake Cradle (Allen & Unwin)
1996   Abraham Biderman, The World of My Past (AHB Publications)


Updated:  7 February 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications