Peter Blazey Fellowship

The Peter Blazey Fellowship was established to honour the memory of Peter Blazey - journalist, author and gay activist - and has been made available through the generosity of Clive Blazey and Tim Herbert, brother and partner of Peter Blazey.

Peter Blazey, photo courtesy of Tim HerbertBlazey was born in Melbourne in 1939 and worked for the Australian, the National Times and as a regular columnist for OutRage magazine. He published a number of books, including a political biography of Henry Bolte, and was co-editor of the short fiction anthology, Love Cries. His personal memoir, ScrewLoose, appeared after his death from AIDS in 1997.

"Peter was someone with a lion's head of loose ends that could never fit into some ideologically sound and tidy space. Storyteller, mythomane, and one of the last great conversationalists in a country wary of the free flow of uncensored language, he was a comet who flashed his tail at everyone."
- Tim Herbert, OutRage, 1997

The Peter Blazey Fellowship was launched by the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby in May 2004.

The Fellowship is awarded annually to writers in the non-fiction fields of biography, autobiography and life writing and is intended to further a work in progress. Applications will be judged on literary merit, and the winner will be supported in his or her work by a prize of approximately $15 000, and a one-month writer-in-residency at the Australian Centre.

2017 Peter Blazey Fellowship

Winner

Eleanor Hogan for Into the Loneliness: The Literary Alliance of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates Eleanor Hogan

 

"This impeccably researched work provides a captivating account of two famous Australians, Daisy Bates and Ernestine Hill. Both women were heavily implicated in the lives of Indigenous people: Bates was an influential amateur ethnographer and Hill was a popular journalist, author of The Great Australian Loneliness (1937). Eleanor Hogan offers insightful and compelling reflections on their unsteady friendship, their unwavering ambitions, the details of their hard-earned experiences, and the crucial role they both played in giving shape to our colonial legacy."

Commended

Fiona Wright, for Homing In

"The judges commend this work as a fascinating and astute investigation of the Australian suburbs, an unflinching chronicle of what it means to live there, and to grow up there. It tells of being shaped by the suburbs and yet excluded from the things they relentlessly prioritise. As her narrative unfolds, Wright also gives us a perceptive and heartfelt account of what it means to be an Australian woman today."

Judges

  • Professor Ken Gelder, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Ms Clare Forster, representative of the Blazey family
  • Mr Jonathan Green, Editor, Meanjin
  • Professor Denise Varney, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne

Image top: Eleanor Hogan, 2017 Peter Blazey Fellowship. Image below: Clive Blazey, Penny Blazey, Eleanor Hogan, Clare Forster. Photos: Jodie Hutchinson.

2016 Peter Blazey Fellowship

Winner

Julia Leigh for Avalanche

"Julia Leigh’s submission to the Blazey Fellowship was an extract from her forthcoming autobiographical work Avalanche, a frank, touching and beautifully written account of her experiences with IVF. The extract chronicles her decision to undergo treatment, built around her need for what she calls ‘Sweet dark purpose’. It folds a sophisticated and sometimes clinically detached view of the effects of medical processes on women into an intensely personal narrative to do with loss, hope and longing. The extract is a series of exquisitely constructed scenes that immerse the reader into the choices she makes and the challenges she faces."

Judges

  • Professor Ken Gelder, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Mr Tim Herbert, representative of the Blazey family
  • Ms Catherine McInnis, deputy editor, Meanjin
  • Professor Denise Varney, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne

Download the judges report (3.03 MB)

2015 Peter Blazey Fellowship

Winner

Rebe Taylor for The Politics and Poetry of Rhys Jones’ Tasmanian Archaeology

Commended

Jane Messer for Grave Relations: A Biography
Jessica White for Blue Shadows and Morning Light: Tracing the Art Collection of F.G. White

Judges

  • Ms Penny Blazey, representative of the Blazey family
  • Professor Ken Gelder, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Ms Brigid Mullane, editor, Kill Your Darlings
  • Associate Professor Denise Varney, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne

Download the judges report (60kb pdf)

2014 Peter Blazey Fellowship

Winners

Michael Farrell for The Case of Jong Ah Sing
Mark Mordue for Tender Prey: The Life and Times of Nick Cave

Commended

Elmo Keep for The Two Fathers

Judges

  • Ms Penny Blazey, representative of the Blazey family
  • Professor Ken Gelder, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Jeff Sparrow, editor, Overland
  • Associate Professor Denise Varney, Co-director of the Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne

Download the judges report (80kb pdf)

Learn about the past winners of the prize