Mary Tennant wins 2016 Finch Memoir Prize for I Knew You’d Have Brown Eyes

18 May 2016 – Today at the Sydney Writers Festival publisher Rex Finch announced that retired WA nurse Mary TennantI Knew You'd Have Brown Eyes web has won the 2016 Finch Memoir Prize for her book I Knew You’d Have Brown Eyes.

Finch said, ‘This is a powerful story about the complexity of attempting to create a relationship between a birth mother and a child she gave up for adoption. Mary writes in a clear, simple style that clearly shows the hurt, vulnerability and longing of mothers who were compelled to put their children up for a forced adoption.’

Mary Tennant said that winning the Finch Memoir Prize was ‘exhilarating because Finch has provided an avenue for my story to reach a broader audience. I always knew my story was worth telling but I was unsure that I could write it in format in such a way that it would appeal to readers. It was very rewarding to be judged the winner by well-known and gifted authors.’

I Knew You’d Have Brown Eyes charts the journey of mother and child from an unhappy parting at birth through the changing of Australia’s adoption laws and a bitter-sweet reunification that stopped, stuttered and restarted before finally becoming a relationship.

Spanning forty years and set against a backdrop of changing social attitudes in Australia, it is the story of a young girl searching for meaning, coming to terms with her guilt and grief, and learning that breaking the silence brings empowerment.