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‘The Ambitions of Jane Franklin’ wins National Biography Award

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin by Alison Alexander (A&U) has won this year’s National Biography Award, presented by the State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW).

The biography of Franklin, a traveller, writer and wife of Tasmanian governor and Arctic explorer John Franklin, was described by judge chair Jacqueline Kent as ‘a full and astute biography of a highly intelligent, vital and strong-minded woman determined to transcend the limited expectations of her age and class’. ‘The book is impressively light on its feet, and Alexander guides the reader through Franklin’s story with a great deal of writerly skill,’ said Kent.

Kent was joined on the judging panel by James Ley and Melanie Nolan.

The winner of the $25,000 award, Australia’s richest prize for biographical writing and memoir, was announced on 4 August at the SLNSW. The announcement marks the beginning of the library’s Biography Week—a public events program dedicated to biography, autobiography and memoir.

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin was selected from a shortlist of five titles, which also included: A Spy in the Archives (Sheila Fitzpatrick, MUP), Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror (John Cantwell & Greg Bearup, MUP), Kitty’s War (Janet Butler, UQP), On Warne (Gideon Haigh, Penguin) and Stillways: A Memoir (Steve Bisley, HarperCollins). Each of the shortlisted authors receives a cash prize of $1000.

In 2013, the award was presented to The Two Frank Thrings by Peter Fitzpatrick (Monash University Publishing).

For more information about the award and Biography Week, visit the SLNSW website here.



Category: Local news