Success for Monash biographer

The Two Frank Thrings by Professor Peter Fitzpatrick
The Two Frank Thrings by Professor Peter Fitzpatrick

A dual biography of the complex lives and father/son relationship of Frank Thring Senior and Junior has won Australia’s top biography award.

The Two Frank Thrings by Monash University’s Professor Peter Fitzpatrick from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies has won this year’s National Biography Award.

Professor Fitzpatrick’s biography tells the story of two remarkable characters who were huge figures in the landscape of twentieth-century Australian theatre and film.

Professor Fitzpatrick said he was thrilled and humbled to have won the award.

“In winning the award it not only acknowledges my work as a biographer, but also provides recognition of the two central characters who both made tremendous contributions to Australian film and theatre,” Professor Fitzpatrick said.

“I was drawn to the challenge of getting inside the carefully crafted public roles both men created as their masks. To have this recognised by the judging panel is very rewarding.”

Professor Fitzpatrick said he appreciated the assistance of Monash University Publishing for embracing his manuscript and producing such a beautiful book for people to enjoy.

The Two Frank Things is the first book published byMonash University Publishing to win such a prestigious award.

Director of Monash University Publishing, Nathan Hollier said Professor Fitzpatrick’s success was a wonderful reward for a brilliant author and a better person.

“Peter has been unstintingly gracious and generous to work with. And for Monash University Publishing to win such an award from our first full year of operating is, for us, just a tremendous outcome,” Mr Hollier said.

The chair of the judges, Dr Bernadette Brennan described The Two Frank Thrings as brilliant, saying Professor Fitzpatrick wrote “with a great deal of humour and a realistic grasp of his subjects’ foibles”.

The National Biography Award was established in 1996 to encourage the highest standards of writing biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres. It is administered and presented by the State Library of New South Wales on behalf of the award’s benefactors, with a panel of three independent judges.

The other four shortlisted titles were Gough Whitlam: His Time by fellow Monash academic Professor Jenny Hocking, Speechless: A Year in My Father’s Business by James Button;Montebello: A Memoir by Robert Drewe; and Reaching One Thousand by Rachel Robertson.

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School of English, Communications and Performance Studies

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