A gripping biography of one of Australia’s most prominent religious figures, who demanded his private records be burnt posthumously, has won this year’s $25,000 National Biography Award.
The fiercely private Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix (1917-1963) is the challenging subject of Mannix (Text Publishing) by Brenda Niall, the extraordinary work selected for Australia’s richest biography prize from a record 110 entries. The judges praised Niall for “recovering both the public identity and the fiercely protected private self to create a beautifully balanced portrait of a very complex and elusive character.”
The shortlisted authors each receive $1,000:
- Martin Edmond Battarbee and Namatjira (Giramondo)
- Stephen FitzGerald Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy (MUP)
- Karen Lamb Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather (UQP)
- Peter Rees Bearing Witness: The Remarkable Life of Charles Bean, Australia’s greatest war correspondent (Allen & Unwin)
- Magda Szubanski Reckoning: A Memoir (Text Publishing)