Publishers of books that change lives

Finch Memoir Prize

ANNOUNCEMENT 2019: Sadly Finch Publishing has closed its doors. However the Finch Memoir Prize is being revitalised and polished, ready for a 2019 launch by its new owners Bad Apple Press. Look out for more information shortly!


BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! 16 November

Finch Publishing is pleased to announce that the winner for the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize is Vicki Laveau-Harvie with Okotoks Erratic.
The three judges, Candida Baker, Caroline Baum and Mark O’Flynn, were in complete agreement about this dark humoured story of an out of control family beset with decay and bitterness. Caroline Baum said, ‘Okotoks Erratic grabbed me by the throat and never let go …  Its sharp vinegary tone added  a thrilling and bracing  note to  this portrayal  of an extreme  dysfunctional family. The writing has a visceral quality as well as a terrific sense of timing, irony and place … I loved it.’
Candida Baker described the manuscript as reminding her of ‘a young Margaret Attwood or Alice Munro’.
Mark O’Flynn said the writing was ‘clear and concise, and wonderfully written’.
The winner, Vicki Laveau-Harvie-, says: I am so very pleased to be the winner of the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize. Writing memoir represents freedom and possibility for anyone who chooses to do it. To share what I’ve written as a result of this prize will be an enduring joy for me.’
The judges also wished to award a Highly Commended to Fay Keegan and her manuscript All Stations to Waterfall.
The winning manuscript will be published in June 2018.

UPDATED UPDATE 31 Oct!!!!!! The judges have finished their shortlist ahead of time and I am delighted to announce that we have six shortlisted authors. They are:

  • Alan Sampson with Tin Gypsy
  • Georgina Lawrence with A Little Bit Country
  • Fay Keegan with All Stations to Waterfall
  • Vicki Laveau-Harvie with Okotoks Erratic
  • Sacha Jones with A Woman of Strange Substance
  • Jennifer Severn with Coming Home to Squabbling Ground

Congratulations to our shortlisted authors! I don’t envy the judges in making their final decision!


UPDATE 5th Oct: Shortlisted authors will be notified from the 16th of November, a little later this year to accommodate our judges’ work commitments. Hang in there people!!!

Update 29 June 2017 – Entries for the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize will open on 1 August 2017 and close on  25 August 2017. The prize is publication and $5000 payable on publication. Writers who wish to enter should download the entry form and carefully read all the terms and conditions to ensure their entry complies as required. Download the entry form here: Finch memoir entry form 2018 and T&C

Finch Publishing is pleased to announce that our judges for the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize are:

Caroline Baum: author of acclaimed memoir Only, literary critic, journalist and broadcaster

Candida Baker: author, journalist, literary critic, editor and Festival Director

Mark O’Flynn: poet, and author of  The Last Days of Ava Langdon, which has been shortlisted  for the 2017 Miles Franklin Prize

We are thrilled to have these wonderful judges join our Finch family!



Update 18 May 2016 – 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, ‘I Knew You’d Have Brown Eyes 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.

Previous winners of the Finch Memoir Prize are:


Former Memoir Prize Winners

*About the Finch Memoir Prize

The Finch Memoir Prize is an annual publication prize for an unpublished memoir of between 40,000 and 80,000 words. The winner is chosen by an independent panel of three judges who are not connected with the publisher. The award was founded in 2010 by Finch Publishing director Rex Finch with the aim of encouraging Australian writers, published and unpublished, to commit to paper their life stories and thus add to the body of Australian creative non-fiction. Truth is stranger than fiction – which is probably why so many readers love to read the real-life accounts of their fellow men and women. Memoirs are also inspiring and uplifting, reflecting the resilience of the human spirit.

Watch this page for updates on terms and conditions, prize money and entrance dates for the 2018 competition.