2015 National Biography Award

Entries close Friday 20 February 2015

The State Library of NSW invites entries for the 2015 National Biography Award

The National Biography Award was established to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres. The Award’s growth and success recognises and reflects the continuing interest in stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives.

The award is administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the award's benefactors, Dr Geoffrey Cains and Mr Michael Crouch AO. In 2012, the total prize value was increased to $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 2014 award went to Alison Alexander for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin (Allen & Unwin).

The 2015 winner will be announced at the State Library of NSW in August 2015.

Entry forms and guidelines are available online at www.sl.nsw.gov.au/nationalbiographyaward

For Media enquiries, please email <media@sl.nsw.gov.au> or telephone 02 9273 1414.


Historic plans show Sydney' first property boom

Want to know what your suburb looked like 100 years ago?

From Allawah to Zetland, the State Library of NSW is making hundreds of historic subdivision plans of Sydney suburbs available online.

Bellevue Estate Hurstville

Dating from as early as the 1860s up to the 1930s these plans were designed to advertise the subdivision and sale of land. They provide a glimpse into Sydney’s early property booms.  

"The story of how the Sydney region developed and changed over time can be found in the State Library’s extensive collection of over 40,000 subdivision plans," says Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.

"These visually striking records illustrate how Sydney's fascination with property began very early in this city’s history," says Dr Byrne.

Real estate agents and auctioneers would use colourful posters, billboards and pamphlets to advertise their land sales. Many are beautifully drawn and feature local sketches and descriptions of the surrounding area to attract the attention and interest of local buyers.

"They range in format from hand-drawn surveyors' plans to decorative colour-lithographed posters, and provide a valuable resource for genealogists, local historians and art lovers alike," says Dr Byrne.

"Some of the plans are annotated with sales figures, and you can where transport routes influenced the popularity of a suburb and how communities grew around local shops, parks and schools."

With support from the NSW Government for its Digital Excellence Program, the State Library is fast-tracking the digitisation of its entire collection of subdivision plans and will be progressively make them available online over the next two years.

The subdivision plans from over 250 NSW suburbs and town are currently being digitised in alphabetical order, however the State Library is giving Sydneysiders the chance to vote to have their suburb moved to the top of the list.

The Library is asking for people to Tweet the name of their suburb using #DigitiseMySuburb and tag @StateLibraryNSW. The most Tweeted suburb (between 6 January 2015 –17 February 2015) will be the next in line for digitisation.

The winning suburb will be announced on the State Library’s website on 18 February 2015.

More information is available at sl.nsw.gov.au  

Media interviews, images and more information, please contact:

Vanessa Bond, State Library Media & Communications
0411 259 898, vanessa.bond@sl.nsw.gov.au

Maggie Patton State Library Research and Discovery
02 92731709, maggie.patton@sl.nsw.gov.au 


Fancy a crack at Australia's first humour writing prize?

The State Library of NSW has announced the launch of the inaugural Russell Prize for Humour Writing, the only award of its kind in Australia.

Light or dark, fun or farce – published works of fiction, memoir, poetry and verse by Australian writers will be considered for the biennial $10,000 prize, with entries now open.

The Prize has been made possible by the generous bequest of the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer, businessman and passionate reader.

Administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the estate, the prize aims to celebrate, recognise and encourage humour writing, and to promote interest in this genre.

As a proud and long-time supporter of Australian literature, the State Library of NSW and its Foundation are thrilled to announce this unique new prize as part of its large stable of awards and prizes it administers, including the NSW Literary and History Awards and the National Biography Award.

 “The Russell Prize for Humour Writing will celebrate the written works that have amused us over the last two years, and encouraged us to ponder what is so unique about the Australian sense of humour,” said Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.

Entries for the 2015 Russell Prize for Humour Writing closing on Friday 6 February 2015.

Entry forms and guidelines are available here: http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/awards/humour_award/

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State Library of NSW Media Centre

For more detailed information, images and interviews please contact:

Vanessa Bond, Manager
Media & Communications Branch
State Library of NSW
+61 2 9273 1566 / 0411 259 898


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Ministerial media releases

Media releases issued by the Minister for the Arts and Minister Assisting the Premier on the Arts are available on the Communities NSW website.

Requesting an image

The Library offers digital images of out-of-copyright photographs and collection items to media free of charge*.

To request an image, please locate the image on the Library's catalogue and send the catalogue record & digital order number to vbond@sl.nsw.gov.au
*some conditions will apply

Filming at the Library

Looking for a great venue to shoot your next film, commercial or fashion feature? The Library offers a range of locations, featuring one of Sydney's finest Art Nouveau interiors to more contemporary décor.

For more information, please contact our Venue Hire department.

For non commercial filming requests, please contact vbond@sl.nsw.gov.au

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