Tag Archives: SLNSW

Finding images for the book


‘Clovelly’, Watsons Bay, NSW (circa 1900). Source: SLNSW

When you pick up a biography, do you first turn to those glossy pages in the middle? The pages with the pictures, the paintings, the maps. The pages that somehow tell you what it is you’re going to be reading about. The pages that the author – a person by definition good with words, rather than images – has sweated blood over.

Reader, I know of what I speak!

When I signed the contract with Text Publishing, my agent carefully pointed out the clause that says I’m responsible for “all illustrative material” and “shall bear all costs relating to supply of such illustrative material”. Yep. Sure. No worries.

In the writing lull which occurred after I submitted the draft manuscript to my editor, I started compiling a list of all the images I wanted to include. Then I went away to find them, on the interwebs.

Some of them were easy to find (thanks, Google).  Some were happy surprises, like this photo of Clovelly, the Macarthur holiday house at Watsons Bay, where Elizabeth Macarthur died. Some of them were much harder to find (and I could only find them in hard copy books). Some of them didn’t exist – for example, Elizabeth Macarthur’s youngest daughter, Emmeline, does not seem to have a picture anywhere, despite being married to a premier of NSW (Henry Parker).

Eventually, long weeks later, I happily sent off my list (my very long list) to the editor.

You, being a person of intelligence and discernment, can probably guess what happened next.  Read the rest of this entry


Australian National Biography Award – Shortlist Announced Today


The State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW) has announced the shortlist for the $25,000 National Biography Award.

The award is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the award’s benefactor Mr Michael Crouch AO.

The Award was established in 1996 by Dr Geoffrey Cains to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres.

The total prize value is $31,000 – $25,000 for the winner and $1,000 each for shortlisted authors – making it the richest national prize dedicated to Australian biographical writing and memoir.

The shortlisted works for 2017 are:

  • The Unknown Judith Wright (Georgina Arnott, UWA Publishing)
  • Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow (Suzanne Falkiner, UWA Publishing)
  • Position Doubtful: Mapping Landscapes and Memories (Kim Mahood, Scribe)
  • Evatt: A Life (John Murphy, NewSouth Publishing)
  • The Long Goodbye (P J Parker, Hardie Grant Books)
  • Before Rupert: Keith Murdoch and the Birth of a Dynasty (Tom D C Roberts, UQP)

Congratulations one and all, and nice that all on the shortlist (chosen from 71 entries!) will receive some prize money. The winner will be announced on 31 July.

Judging panel chair Peter Cochrane said the judges were ‘dazzled by the quality and range of entries, confirming that biography is alive and well in Australia and the genre is thriving’.

Previous winners have included:

  • Mannix (Brenda Niall, Text Publishing)
  • An Unsentimental Bloke: The Life and Work of CJ Dennis (Philip Butterss, Wakefield Press)
  • The Ambitions of Jane Franklin: Victorian Lady Adventurer (Alison Alexander, Allen&Unwin)