I’m grateful to the International Biographers Organization (BIO) for giving me its 2017 Hazel Rowley Prize. I received the award, for the best proposal for a first biography, on May 20 at BIO’s conference in Boston.
BIO began around the time I started my book project. The group has been a terrific resource, especially to a novice biographer like me. The members — ranging from major prize winners to beginners — offer a very supportive network.
BIO’s founders include the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer James McGrath Morris. In 2013, soon after starting research for my book on Eliza Scidmore, I benefited greatly from Jamie’s mentoring as the recipient of a Mayborn Fellowship in Biography.
The recent prize I received from BIO honors the late biographer Hazel Rowley (1951-2011).
Born in London, educated in England and Australia, and a long-time resident of the United States, Rowley supported BIO strongly from its inception. The prize bears her name in tribute to her understanding of the need for biographers to help each other.
Rowley wrote four distinguished books before her untimely death.
The New York Times named Rowley’s Christina Stead: A Biography as a “Notable Book.” Richard Wright: The Life and Times became a Washington Post “Best Book.” Rowley’s book Tete-a-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre has been translated into 12 languages. And her book Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage made NPR’s list of favorite picks.