Calidris Literary Agency

2024 Magarey Medal for Biography

Congratulations to Ann-Marie Priest! Her biography of Gwen Harwood, My Tongue is My Own is winner of the 2024 Magarey Medal for Biography. The judges full citation reads:

Ann-Marie Priest has written a consummate biography of renowned Australian poet Gwen Harwood. Too often biographers of Australian women have had to struggle with few sources but Priest had over 420 works, including 386 poems (and libretti), a massive correspondence, Harwood’s diaries, much commentary, and interviews with friends and family. Despite this, all of Priest’s craft was needed to make sense of Harwood because she was a mercurial ‘enigmatic figure of wigs and masks’, the ‘trickster poet’ who enjoyed reeling in biographical interest but sought to remain elusive. A self-described Tasmanian housewife and mother, with a marriage accompanied by love affairs with men and women, Harwood battled male cultural gatekeeping in postwar Australia by playfully adopting male nom de plumes and gaming editors. Written with skill and flair like Harwood’s own life, this is a definitive biography that truly gives voice to a woman whose tongue really was her own.