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Brennan wins 2022 National Biography Award for ‘Leaping into Waterfalls’

Bernadette Brennan has won the 2022 National Biography Award for Leaping into Waterfalls: The enigmatic Gillian Mears (A&U).

Brennan receives $25,000, while the other shortlisted authors receive $2000 each.

Judges Suzanne Falkiner, Rick Morton and Mandy Sayer called Leaping into Waterfalls an ‘intimate portrayal’ of the complicated life and premature death of Australian writer Gillian Mears, and praised Brennan’s ‘graceful writing and sensitive approach to an enigmatic and often contradictory personality’.

‘This brilliant and balanced biography details her rural childhood and deep emotional enmeshment with her three sisters, her prodigious and restless love life, her spiritual journeys, her writing process, her appalling treatment of friends and publishers, her soaring talent, and her inexorable descent into illness.

‘From this impressively researched, intense account—replete with intimate psychological detail—Mears emerges as insecure, self-obsessed, self-dramatising, demanding, shy, ruthless, self-promoting, solitary, and yet with an ability to charm and draw people into an intense involvement in her life and writing.’

The Michael Crouch Award for a Debut Work, worth $5000, was awarded to Amani Haydar for The Mother Wound (Macmillan).

The winner of the 2021 National Biography Award was Cassandra Pybus for Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse (A&U).

For more information about the award, visit the State Library of NSW website.


Category: Awards Local news