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.